The House of the Seven Gables

A House of Doom: Hawthorne's Seven Gables College

In a rather prophetic statement about a doomed family residing in an ancestral home, where the curse of the father becomes the curse of the children, Hawthorne writes in The House of the Seven Gables, “Ambition is a talisman more powerful than witchcraft” (209). For this second novel, Hawthorne shifts from the puritanical to the mesmeric, a deviation from the evils of religion to the effects of greed that guides the reader on a journey into the blackness of human nature. The dust collected on the puritan lifestyle is swept away for a more promising Christian ideal. In his earlier novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne contrasted puritan ideas of sin and redemption. Such a concept had bleak undertones in the puritan setting of the past. In his second novel, he chose to deal with a happier outcome on a grander scale of several generations, though through a much darker story of the Fall and salvation. The start of the curse began out of greed with the old Colonel, the progenitor of the Pyncheon family, dying from a soar curse. His descendants would depart this life too from the same doom, for the family patriarchs would betray anyone, even their own family members, to increase the riches that only damned their souls. The curse of...

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