Essay House Seven Gables
In reputation, The House of the Seven Gables usually stands in the shadow of its predecessor, The Scarlet Letter (1850). It is, however, a rich and solid achievement. Its characters are among Nathaniel Hawthorne’s most complex. The author thought it, in comparison with the earlier work, “more characteristic of my mind, and more proper and natural for me to write.” In his preface, Hawthorne explicitly states his moral: “the truth, namely that the wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and, divesting itself of every temporary advantage, becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.” This sentiment echoes the biblical adage that “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” Hawthorne’s interest in the heritage of sin was probably whetted by the history of his own family. His first American ancestor, William Hathorne (Nathaniel himself added the w to the family name), was a soldier and magistrate who once had a Quaker woman publicly whipped through the streets. William’s son John, having, as Nathaniel said, “inherited the persecuting spirit,” was a judge at the infamous Salem witch trials, during which a defendant cursed another of the three judges with the cry, “God will give you blood to drink!” Thenceforth, as Hawthorne noted, although the family remained decent, respectable folk, their fortunes began to decline.
The fate of the Pyncheon family of the novel is considerably more dramatic. Matthew Maule’s curse on Colonel Pyncheon, who has persecuted him for witchcraft and wrested from him the land on which the seven-gabled house is to be built, is precisely that which Judge John Hathorne had heard in a similar trial. It is apparently fulfilled on the day of the housewarming, when Colonel Pyncheon dies of apoplexy, the hemorrhage rising through his throat to stain his white shirt. Hawthorne would have readers believe, however, that such sins as Pyncheon’s are not so easily compensated. The family occupies the mansion, but misfortune is their constant lot. There are repeated apoplectic deaths, sometimes heralded by an ominous gurgling in the throat; greed leads Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, like his ancestor, to participate in a trumped-up trial, this time against his own cousin; and years of pride and isolation thin the family blood so that, like the...
(The entire section is 966 words.)
Show More“The love of money is the root of all evil.” This basic proverb it the foundation that Nathaniel Hawthorne builds upon in The House of Seven Gables. Like all of hawthorns works he exploits the evils of the puritan heart in is 1851 Romantic Fantasy. Hawthorne tells the story of the Pyncheon family’s struggle to overcome the inherrated problem caused by the sins of their ancestors. The Pyncheon family, however, thinks the problems come from an inherrated curse that was placed on the family. The House of Seven Gables shows Hawthorne’s opinion of the puritan heart (Gioia and Kennedy p. 196). He believed that their hearts were full of sin, and that they were blinded by the sin and evil so much that they could not even see that the problem lies…show more content…
The Maul family is the opposite of the Pyncheon’s. They are poor, non-puritan, and not well respected. The patriarch of this family was a man named Matthew Maul. He is the man who is put to death by Colonel Pyncheon. He was rumored to be a wizard, and due to the unjust treatment of Matthew by the Pyncheon’s all of the misfortune was blamed on him. The remainder of the Maul family was completely innocent but because they inherrated the reputation of Matthew Maul, they were forced to be on the lowest rung on the social ladder. One Maul though, John Holgrave Maul, simply known as Mr. Holgrave, was determined to change the reputation of the Mauls by making things right with the Pyncheon’s. His actions show the reader that it is the Pyncheon family to blame, and they must take steps to correct themselves or they will suffer this self-inflicted curse forever. Mr. Holgrave later marries Phoebe (www.classicnote.com).
The setting of this novel is the most important factor in the story because it is filled with symbolism of Hawthorne’s views of the puritans. The novel spans almost two hundred years from 1700 to 1900, although most of the novel is set in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Even though the times change, the place stays the same. The House of the seven Gables is located in the average New England town on a very rich street. The house is very large and extravagant, but severely run down. The most remarkable