House of Seven Gables: Home

Nathaniel Hawthorne

"The fathers have eaten sour grapes

And the children's teeth are set on edge"

Ezekiel 18:2

Biography

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, as Nathaniel Hathorne, grandson of John Hathorne, one of the judges in the Salem Witchcraft trials.  His father, a sea captain, died when Nathaniel was four. Raised by a doting all-female family, he loved to read and early on decided that he was not fit for a traditional career.  "I do not want to be a doctor and live by men's diseases, nor a minister to live by their sins, nor a lawyer to live by their quarrels. So I don't see that there is anything left for me but to be an author."  He was a compatriot of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau and Herman Melville.

In this Gothic novel of greed and retribution, a curse haunts the impressive House of the Seven Gables.  Colonel Pyncheon wrested the prime lot from Matthew Maule, a poor man unfairly hanged for wizardry. Maule swore that God would give the Pyncheons blood to drink.  Col. Pyncheon never lived in the house he had built there; he died on the night of the housewarming. The Pyncheons, a greedy, grasping family, were cursed with premature, bloody deaths.  At the time of our story, the two surviving Pyncheons are weak,  ineffectual and old.  A distant cousin, Phoebe Pyncheon, brings light and hope into the house, hope that the curse can be lifted.

Themes You Can Use

  • Trans-generational retribution
  • Consequences of wrongdoing
  • Social class
  • Appearance vs. reality
  • Greed
  • Guilt
  • Pride
  • Family
  • Romance
  • Illness

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