Analysis Dr Heidegger

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Analysis: Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment Essay, Research Paper Analysis: Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment “If all stories were true, Dr. Heidegger’s study must have been a very curious place.”(p.2). From the very start we are warned that the stories about Dr. Heidegger may not be true. This becomes important in analyzation because we can no longer depend on the stories as fact, but at the same time we have no reason to doubt them. Dr. Heidegger is known to be a peculiar man, and it is said that he held consultations with a bronze bust of Hippocrates. His study is filled with many intriguing items. Such as a mirror hung between two bookcases which supposedly houses the ghosts of his deceased patients. But above all curiosities, was a bound black leather folio volume with

massive silver clasps, which contained mysteries yet to be known. It seems that the more one looks in detail at the story, the less alive the four old people become. In the beginning Hawthorne refers to them as “not long ago in their graves,” (p.1) and as those “who had been unfortunate in life,” (p.1) from this we can see that they are actually six feet under, or dead. There are many areas to be examined in “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” one of which being the tall mirror in the study. This mirror is said to house the spirits of all the doctor’s deceased patients. Later on the mirror reflects the figures of the old people and they appear as “?old, gray, withered? ?skinny ugliness?”(p.7) from this it can be concluded that they really are spirits, and are just

being reflected as living beings. It appears that the old people are sitting in Dr. Heidegger’s study, but at the same time it seems that they might not actually be there. Dr. Heidegger speaks with them as if they are living, however it seems more likely that they are sitting there in a ghostly presence and Dr. Heidegger is attempting to bring them back to life. “Before you drink, my respectable old friends,” said he, “it would be well that, with the experience of a lifetime to direct you, you should draw up a few general rules for your guidance, in passing a second time through the perils of youth. Think what a sin and shame it would be, if, with your peculiar advantages, you should not become patterns of virtue and wisdom to all the young people of the age.” The

doctor’s four venerable friends made him no answer, except by a feeble and tremulous laugh; so very ridiculous was the idea, that, knowing how closely repentance treads behind the steps of error, they should ever go astray again.” (p.4) This could be seen as foreshadowing, as a warning that the old people, when returning to youth or life, would once again act recklessly and foolishly. It becomes obvious that the four are unwilling to wait a moment to become young and alive again. They desire youth more then anything else. “You have been a long time growing old. Surely you might be content to grow young in half an hour!” (p.5), their hurriedness to grow young is perhaps symbolic that they are still young at heart, but have been ignorant to this because of their condition

and or stamina. The four people involved are very superficial, especially the widow. “?She stood before the mirror?” (p.6), it seems none of them could handle the aging process and only wanted to return to their youth. They felt that because their appearances were old, that they too must be old and decrepit. Their ignorance remained with them even after experiencing life once over. As soon as they were old again they wanted to leave immediately for the Fountain of Youth, so that they would never again have to be old. These four sad old people were not able to see the beauty of their age and wisdom, instead they sought to look beautiful and young. Dr. Heidegger wanted to watch them grow young, to see if they might realize that being old is not such a terrible thing, and that