The House Of Seven Gables: Symbolism



American Literature reflects life, and the struggles that we face during
our existence. The great authors of our time incorporate life's problems into
their literature directly and indirectly. The stories themselves bluntly tell
us a story, however, an author also uses symbols to relay to us his message in a
more subtle manner. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The House of Seven Gable's
symbolism is eloquently used to enhance the story being told, by giving us a
deeper insight into the author's intentions in writing the story.
The book begins by describing the most obvious symbol of the house
itself. The house itself takes on human like characteristics as it is being
described by ...

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too, enjoyed - that the very
timbers were oozy, as with the moisture of a heart." (Hawthorne 27). Hawthorne
turns the house into a symbol of the collection of all the hearts that were
darkened by the house. "It was itself like a great human heart, with a life of
its own, and full of rich and somber reminiscences" (Hawthorne 27). Evert
Augustus Duyckinck agrees that "The chief perhaps, of the dramatis personae, is
the house itself. From its turrets to its kitchen, in every nook and recess
without and within, it is alive and vital." (Hawthorne 352) Duyckinck feels
that the house is meant to be used as a symbol of an actual character, "Truly it
is an actor in the scene"(Hawthorne 352). This turns the house into an
interesting, but still depressing place that darkens the book in many ways.
Hawthorne means for the house's gloomy atmosphere to symbolize many things in
his book.
The house also is used to symbolize a prison that has darkened the lives
of its inmates ...

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open the front door, and stept across
the threshold, and felt, both of them, as if they were standing in the presence
of the whole world… Their hearts quaked within them, at the idea of taking one
step further. (Hawthorne 169)
Hepzibah and Clifford are completely cut off from the outside world. They
are like prisoners who after being jailed for decades return to find a world
they do not know.(Rountree 101). Clifford is deeply saddened when he says, " ‘
We are ghosts! We have no right among human beings - no right anywhere, but in
this old house"(Hawthorne 169). The house has imprisoned their souls and
trapped their lives. Hence, the house symbolizes a prison for its inhabitants.
...

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Added: 5/17/2004 10:19:47 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2633
Pages: 10

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