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Word Count: 1,657
With the Revolutionary War only sixty-eight years removed aristocratic thinking is being challenged by the new democratic mind-set During this turbulent yet exciting growth spurt in American history Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes The House of the Seven Gables 1851 His masterful use of binary characters subtlety argues for the wholesomeness of plebeian democratic values rather than keeping the patrician aristocratic power structure Hawthorne creates several characters that are in binary opposition to one another Among other themes these characters represent the theme of the rise of the plebeian over the ashes of the patrician The scene is first set with Colonel Pyncheon and Matthew Maule The Colonel is a puritan aristocrat who encourages the persecution and subsequent hanging of Matthew Maule for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials in order to lay claim to the Maule property--the only land that has a stream running through it In this first battle of the patriarch versus the plebeian it is the patriarch who wins--or does he The legend goes on to claim that at Matthew Maules hanging he curses the Colonel saying God will give him blood to drink 358 The Colonel later hires Maules son Thomas to build the Seven Gabled House on top of Maules old cabin Then in good old aristocratic fashion he throws a house warming party for the whole town but seemingly departs from his patriarchic position by remaining absent even when the Lieutenant Governor arrives It is discovered that the Colonel is in his study--dead--with blood on his ruff and his hoary beard saturated with it 364 Thus Hawthorne sets the stage with the power of a plebeian curse at least appearing to come true The main tale takes place one hundred and sixty years after the Colonels death but in a flashback to thirty-seven years after his death the story of Alice Pyncheon and the grandson of Matthew Maule also named Matthew provides Hawthornes readers with an important aristocraticdemocratic
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