Critical Essays On The House Of The Seven Gables

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Obviously, the biggest symbol in this novel is the House of the Seven Gables itself. Hawthorne helps us out with this one by putting it right there in the title! The house represents a ton of thin...

What's Up With the Title?

The House of the Seven Gables is the central organizing symbol of this novel. It stands in for tons of things: the Pyncheon family as a whole, the Pyncheon family's fight with Matthew Maule, the Pa...

What's Up With the Ending?

The last chapter of The House of the Seven Gables is weirdly...happy. First off, the whole public now knows that Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon is dead, and no one blames Hepzibah or Clifford. Indeed, they...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

The "monster" in The House of the Seven Gables is the evil, greedy spirit of Colonel Pyncheon, which travels down the Pyncheon line to Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon. At the start of the book, siblings Hep...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

At the start of The House of the Seven Gables, Hepzibah and Clifford are living in hell. Hepzibah has walled herself up in her family home, living in cold, dilapidated gentility, and Clifford has b...

Allusions

The New England Primer (1777) (2.15)Chanticleer (rooster name used in medieval tales) (6.5, 6.6, 10.10-11, 10.13, 12.5, 14.35, 21.11)Alexander Pope, " The Rape of the Lock " (8.3)Richard Steele (e...

Criticism Related to Female Characters in The House of the Seven Gables


The Turner-Ingersoll House, 54 Turner St., Salem, aka "The House of the Seven Gables"(photography by Dan Popp)
 

Many scholars and critics have commented upon the significant role of women in Nathaniel Hawthorne's life and work. Some have discussed the formative role that women played in Hawthorne's emergence as a writer and how this influences his treatment of female characters. Others explore the sympathetic view that Hawthorne often has toward female characters, the ways that he aligns them with arts and domesticity, and the ways that women in Hawthorne's fiction are often restricted by the values of the social world they inhabit.

  • General Commentary
    • Criticism Related to Women in Hawthorne's Life and Hawthorne's View of Women
      In her lecture "Hawthorne and 'the sphere of ordinary womanhood'," Melinda Ponder addresses Hawthorne's youth and the important roles that women had in his development. This excerpt highlights that role.
    • Excerpt from his lecture "The Meaning of Hawthorne's Women" in which Richard Millington highlights Hawthorne's sympathetic views toward his female characters.

  • Criticism Related to Hepzibah
    • Excerpts Related to Family Themes and Hawthorne's Fiction: The Tenacious Web by Gloria C. Erlich that points to models based on himself and his mother, Elizabeth Hathorne, who both chose to isolate themselves from the world. Thus, he had real models to help capture Hepzibah's self-imposed isolation from society. (courtesy of Rutgers University Press)
    • Excerpts from essay by John L. Idol, Jr. in Hawthorne and Women edited by Idol and Melinda Ponder on Mary Russell Mitford's sympathetic response to Hepzibah (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)
    • Excerpt from her lecture "Hawthorne and 'the sphere of ordinary womanhood'," in which Melinda Ponder notes that Hawthorne comments on the changing roles for women in his time through the contrasts between Hepzibah and Phoebe, particularly through Hepzibah's aristocratic pretensions.
    • Excerpts from essay by Melissa Pennell in Hawthorne and Women edited by John L. Idol, Jr. and Melinda Ponder that compares Mary Wilkins Freeman's character to Hepzibah. Like Hepzibah, Freeman's female characters are genteel women struggling to achieve self-worth in a changing society. (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)

  • Criticism related to Phoebe
    • Excerpts from an essay "The Chief Employ of Her Life ", from Hawthorne and Women edited by John L. Idol andMelinda Ponder in which Luanne Jenkins Hurst cites some of Sophia Hawthorne's responses to The House of the Seven Gables, especially to Phoebe's character. (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)
    • Excerpt from his lecture "Illustrations of The House of the Seven Gables: A Help or Hindrance?"(video) in which Dr. John L. Idol, Jr. comments that illustrators' interpretations of Phoebe's character tend to emphasize the "sunny" aspects of her character.
    • Excerpt from his lecture "The Meaning of Hawthorne's Women" in which Richard Millington considers the parallel between Hawthorne's experiences and the gender relations he depicts between Phoebe and Holgrave.
    • An excerpt from the biography Nathaniel Hawthorne in his Times in which James Mellow comments on both Phoebe's connection to Sophia Hawthorne and on her influence over the character Holgrave.
    • Excerpt from The Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne by Melissa McFarland Pennell in which she suggests that Hawthorne anticipated the criticism leveled against Phoebe's character. (courtesy of Greenwood Press)

  • Criticism related to Alice
    • Excerpt from The Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne by Melissa McFarland Pennell in which she outlines Alice's role within the novel. (courtesy of Greenwood Press)



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