The House of the Seven Gables
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The House of the Seven Gables is, as Hawthorne explains in his preface, a romance, which he defines as "a legend prolonging itself" and connecting a bygone time with the present. Within this romantic sensibility there is the sense that events and personalities recur throughout time and even throughout the generations; the task of the first chapter is therefore to establish the origins of this legend. The tale of Colonel Pyncheon and Matthew Maule proves the central event of the novel, although it occurs more than a century before the majority of the novel takes place. The events leading to the origin of the House of the Seven Gables include a number of patterns and character traits that future characters will exhibit in very similar ways. This romantic sensibility that Hawthorne employs is therefore very deterministic; the sins of Colonel Pyncheon will be revisited upon his descendants, while Matthew Maule's progeny will bear similar burdens.