The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
"The House of the Seven Gables" is a romantic novel set in a grand and rustic, old house with seven
gables in New England town. The story opens with its history, beginning in the 1690's, when
witch-hunting was rampant. Afterwards, it revolves around the course of one summer in the 1850's.
At his housewarming party, Colonel Pyncheon, the socially noted owner of the house was
mysteriously found dead in one of the rooms. Although he was highly esteemed for his wealth and
high position, legend has it that he usurped the land on which his house stood from a poor fellow
named Matthew Maule. Maule was a nobody. Furthermore, he was rumored to be practicing
witchcraft. For this, he was hanged and it was rumored that Pyncheon was responsible for it because
he wanted the land for himself. However, his social prominence and Maule's infamy allowed him to
get away with the crime smoothly. Before Maule died though, cursed him saying, "God will give him
blood to drink."
For years, the Pyncheon-Maule dispute carried on. The long line of Pyncheons struggled to keep
the land from their rivals. Though they succeeded in this, their greed became their own undoing.
Alice Pyncheon dies because her father, Gervayse, allowed her to be hypnotized by a Maule also
named Matthew, because he believed him when he said that he needed Alice's mind to find a the
hidden Pyncheon treasure. Clifford Pyncheon was another victim of the greed of his cousin Judge
Jaffrey Pyncheon. He framed him and sent him to prison for killing their uncle so that he could have
the Pyncheon fortune to himself.
However, after many years, the once talked-about mansion was eventually forgotten, and the story
focuses on the time when Hepzibah Pyncheon, an old and lonely spinster inhabited it. She was often
feared for the scowl on her face that was actually only the result of a chronic squint due to her poor
eyesight. Proud and without talent for practical matters, she is a symbol of decaying aristocracy.
She grieves for her beloved brother, Clifford, who was framed and imprisoned. She had a boarder
named Holgrave. He is an attractive and imtellectual young man with modern views and notions.
He preaches about social reform to Hepzibah and Phoebe.
When her money was running out, Hepzibah was forced to open little bakeshop in the front gable of
the house and abandon her illusion of aristocracy. This only adds to her misery until her young niece,
Phoebe, comes from the country to live with her in the house. Like a ray of sunshine, she lights up
the house with her beauty, simplicity, and free-spiritedness
After 30 years in prison, Hepzibah's brother, Clifford, is released and comes home to the house of
seven gables. He has a love for beauty but the years of seclusion had drawn out the life from him
and he became bitter and spiritless. ...