The House of Seven Gables
The following paper is a discussion of the ending in Hawthorne’s `The House of Seven Gables`.
The following paper focuses on how Hawthorne develops symbolic significance for the house, the portrait of Colonel Pyncheon, and the old family deed in order to legitimize his ending. This paper uses text analysis to identify key issues raised by Hawthorne, and then questions how these issues are resolved.
The ending of Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables seems like a concession to most readers’ desire for a happy ending. Hawthorne seems to abandon his morbid threats of an inescapable family curse, the radicalism of Holgrave, and his disdain for Hepzibah’s notions of aristocracy in order to bestow his good characters with the traditional fairy tale reward money and marriage. Hawthorne states his moral in the preface of his novel, expressing a desire to expose the truth, namely, that the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and, divesting itself of every temporary advantage, becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief. This idea of a moral curse is continuously emphasized throughout the narrative, but then apparently becomes mollified by the resolution. Have Hawthorne’s characters truly succeeded in escaping their curse? Or does Hawthorne’s ending put an optimistic light over a much darker message?