Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne “The House of the Seven Gables”

Nathaniel Hawthorne “The House of the Seven Gables”

Biography of the author

Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the greatest of all American fiction writers, was descended from William Hawthorne (the w was added by Nathaniel himself while he was in college). He came to Massachusetts Bay from England with John Winthrop in 1630 and as a magistrate ordered the whipping of a Quaker woman in Salem. William's son John was one of the three judges who presided over the Salem witch trials in 1692. These men were important figures in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; they were also guilty of serious crimes. The family fortunes had declined since those early days. Nathaniel's father was a ship captain who died in a distant port when the boy was only four years old. Nathaniel, who was sensitively aware of this inheritance, often wondered whether the decline was a punishment for the sins of his (as he called them) “sable-cloaked, steeple-crowned progenitors.”

After his graduation in 1825 from Bowdoin College (where poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a lifelong friend, was a classmate), Hawthorne returned to his mother's house in Salem. He read much, wrote much, and destroyed much of what he wrote. The result was the appearance in the periodical press of many remarkable stories, which he published anonymously at first. He collected many of these tales in book form in 1837 under the title Twice-Told Tales, the first work to bear the author's name on the title page. His publications having brought him very little money, Hawthorne took employment in the Boston Custom House in 1839-1840, and in 1841 he joined the socialist community at Brook Farm, where he stayed about six months. Meanwhile, he had met and fallen in love with Sophia Peabody, and she with him. After their marriage on July 9, 1842, they went to live in the “Old Manse” in Concord, Massachusetts. The story of their three years there, as recorded in Hawthorne's American Notebooks and his essay “The Old Manse,” is one of the most charming of marital idylls (Emmett, 2003).

Plot summary

The House of the Seven Gables tells the story of a cursed house. In the late seventeenth century, in a small town, in New England, Colonel Pyncheon, Puritan training, decides to build a large mansion in the place where once stood the hut of Matthew Maule, who presented as a man troubled, and was led to scaffold because of accusations of witchcraft. The colonel, who presides over the trial conviction, cannot hide fraudulent intentions, intending to seize the land of Maule. The opening day of the imposing house, the Colonel dies suddenly. It was the highest degree the American heir of the supernatural, and saw behind ordinary phenomena of life a host of vague, melancholy ghosts, but he was too disinterested to enjoy themselves impressions, emotions and beauty of the story.

He had to weave his imagination by creating a fabric quietly melancholic type didactic or allegorical where ...
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