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About the Author
Date of Birth:July 4, 1804
Date of Death:May 19, 1864
Place of Birth:Salem, Massachusetts
Place of Death:Plymouth, New Hampshire
Education:Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824
Read an Excerpt
Half-way down a by-street of one of our New England towns, stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst. The street is Pyncheon-street; the house is the old Pyncheon-house; and an elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon-elm. On my occasional visits to the town aforesaid, I seldom failed to turn down Pyncheon-street, for the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities; the great elm-tree and the weather-beaten edifice.
Excerpted from "The House of the Seven Gables"
Copyright © 2010 Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsINTRODUCTORY NOTE
I. THE OLD PYNCHEON FAMILY
II. THE LITTLE SHOP-WINDOW
III. THE FIRST CUSTOMER
IV. A DAY BEHIND THE COUNTER
V. MAY AND NOVEMBER
VI. MAULE’S WELL
VII. THE GUEST
VIII. THE PYNCHEON OF TO-DAY
IX. CLIFFORD AND PHOEBE
X. THE PYNCHEON GARDEN
XI. THE ARCHED WINDOW
XII. THE DAGUERREOTYPIST
XIII. ALICE PYNCHEON
XIV. PHOEBE’S GOOD-BYE
XV. THE SCOWL AND SMILE
XVI. CLIFFORD’S CHAMBER
XVII. THE FLIGHT OF TWO OWLS
XVIII. GOVERNOR PYNCHEON
XIX. ALICE’S POSIES
XX. THE FLOWER OF EDEN
XXI. THE DEPARTURE
Reading Group Guide
1. Hawthorne considered this novel to be a romance, which in literary terms refers to a narrative, allegorical treatment of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events. Do you think this term accurately describes the book? Why or why not?
2. What do you make of the relationship between interior consciousness and external appearance in the novel? How does this conflict, as experienced by each of the central characters, inform the novel? And how does the house serve as a metaphor for this struggle?
3. Discuss the theme of class and social structure in the novel. What do you think Hawthorne intends in his depiction of Hepzibah's and Clifford's slow decline, and the curse on the Pyncheons' house? Are these related in any way? What about the role of the Maules?
4. Is the house a kingdom or a prison? Neither, or both? What is the curse that afflicts the Pyncheons? Discuss.
5. Discuss the role played by Holgrave in the novel. How does his nomadic, rootless existence stand in contrast to the Pyncheons? How does his marriage to Phoebe complicate this?
6. Discuss the scene in which Clifford attempts to join the procession. How does this illuminate the fundamental struggle of the Pyncheon family?