The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Overview

In the final years of the seventeenth century in a small New England town, the venerable Colonel Pyncheon decides to erect a ponderously oak-framed and spacious family mansion. It occupies the spot where Matthew Maule, 'an obscure man', had lived in a log hut, until his execution for witchcraft. From the scaffold, Maule points his finger at the presiding Colonel and cries 'God will give him blood to drink!' The fate of Colonel Pyncheon exerts a heavy influence on his descendants in the crumbling mansion for the next century and a half. Hawthorne called his novel a 'Romance', drawing on the Gothic tradition which embraced and exploited the thrills of the supernatural. Unlike The Scarlet Letter, with its unrelentingly dark view of human nature and guilt, Hawthorne sought to write 'a more natural and healthy product of my mind', a story which would show guilt to be a trick of the imagination. The tension between fantasy and a new realism underpins the novel's descriptive virtuosity. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789897782213
Publisher: Pandora's Box
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Sold by: De Marque
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 9,797
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) was an American author whose works are notable for their psychological complexity, dark romanticism, and themes of sin and retribution. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Hawthorne was a descendant of the earliest Puritan settlers, including one of the judges in the Salem witch trials. In addition to The Scarlet Letter, his well-known works include the novel The House of the Seven Gables and the story collection Twice-Told Tales
 

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.
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The House of the Seven Gables"
by .
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 Contents

INTRODUCTORY NOTE
AUTHOR’S PREFACE
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?

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