When he visits the house, they call him a guest. Why?
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Hawthorne portrays Clifford as a man who barely exists, much like Hepzibah. He no longer is part of society and has no possessions. He returns to the House of the Seven Gables, which was to be his inheritance, as a guest, as the title of the chapter notes. When he approaches the door, it seems like he does not have the physical strength to walk, and his speech is perfunctory and ill-defined, as if he were merely going through the motions of interaction with Hepzibah and Phoebe.