"The house of seven gables" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay by woody pollardHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1997

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The House of Seven Gables

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The protagonist in The House of Seven Gables is Hepzibah Pyncheon. She is an

aging gentlewoman who in the past had lived in luxury, but she has recently run into

troubling economic times. She is an ancestor of a patrician Puritan background that goes

all the way back to the colonial days of the United States. One of her earliest relatives

was Colonel Pyncheon who built a house with seven gables on property which was

formerly owned by a man named Matthew Maule who was executed for witchcraft. It is

said that Colonel Pyncheon was one of the main figures in having Maule executed. On the

day of his death Maule put a bad spell on the Pyncheons that would last until the day of

Hepzibah. Hepzibah is a dynamic character in The House of Seven Gables.

As the story begins, Hepzibah is having to open a cent shop to help pay her bills.

She is a tall, gaunt woman who always seems to be in a fowl mood. She finds having to

open the shop extremely demeaning considering her patrician background. She lives

almost completely in the past and never leaves the house to interact with the rest of the

world. When she opens the cent shop she finally begins to make interactions with other

people; however, she keeps her unpleasant mood even to her customers. The woman

lives with the curse that has been handed down through the generations. It is this that

fuels her constant bad mood.

The day after she opens the shop, her cousin Phoebe comes to visit her. Phoebe is

a young country girl who ends up staying with Hepzibah to manage the household.

Phoebe has youthful energetic demeanor which improves Hepzibah's attitude a little.