Nathaniel Hawthorne's symbols in "The house of seven gables".

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 1997

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American Literature reflects life, and the struggles that we face

during our existence. The great authors of our time incorporate life's

problems into their literature directly and indirectly. The stories

themselves bluntly tell us a story, however, an author also uses symbols

to relay to us his message in a more subtle manner. In Nathaniel

Hawthorne's book The House of Seven Gable's symbolism is eloquently used

to enhance the story being told, by giving us a deeper insight into the

author's intentions in writing the story.

The book begins by describing the most obvious symbol of the house

itself. The house itself takes on human like characteristics as it is

being described by Hawthorne in the opening chapters. The house is

described as 'breathing through the spiracles of one great

chimney'(Hawthorne 7). Hawthorne uses descriptive lines like this to

turn the house into a symbol of the lives that have passed through its

halls. The house takes on a persona of a living creature that exists

and influences the lives of everybody who enters through its doors.

(Colacurcio 113) 'So much of mankind's varied experience had passed

there - so much had been suffered, and something, too, enjoyed - that

the very timbers were oozy, as with the moisture of a heart.' (Hawthorne

27). Hawthorne turns the house into a symbol of the collection of all

the hearts that were darkened by the house. 'It was itself like a great

human heart, with a life of its own, and full of rich and somber

reminiscences' (Hawthorne 27). Evert Augustus Duyckinck agrees that 'The

chief perhaps, of the dramatis personae, is the house itself. From its

turrets to its kitchen, in every nook and recess without and within, it

is alive and vital.' (Hawthorne 352) Duyckinck feels that the house is...