Summary of Wieland (by Charles Brockden Brown)

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As one of thefirst American novels, Wieland is a tale of illusions, confusion and irrational human behavior. Told from the perspective of Clara Wieland, this gothic story is set in post-revolutionary Pennsylvania and revolves around the miseries of her family. Even in thefirst few chapters the narrator presents the reader an unbelievable tale: the mysterious death of Clara's father, who, after making a short visit to the family's little hut, never returns from that (from now on) desolate place. It is the beginning of a series of supernatural events that continues throughout the whole book.
The main tragedy, however, begins to unfold its whole extent when Carwin, a kind of vagabond, enters the peaceful community. Clara seems to be magically attracted by him although this intruder certainly has evilness in his appearance. Though his role in the story is until the end very mysterious and unclear he seems to bring tragedy.
The situation for the small community of "Mettingen" worsens when Wieland and Pleyel return from the hut totally disoriented. Like Clara's father, they seem to have heard the same voices but no single human being – similar to the events then this is again thefirst sign of future misery. Clara is totally enamored by this. Not much later she encounters the same experience when she hears ghostly voices in her own house.
All the time she is sure that the events have something to do with Carwin's appearance. When she finds out that her brother's children and his wife were killed, she suspects the intruder Carwin even more as being the murderer. This is, however, not exactly true: when her uncle tells her he knows about the whole story and presents her a court report on the case, Clara has to realize that her own brother, Wieland, was the assassin. Due to his statements he had to kill his own family since he received a sort of superhuman request.