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The House of the Seven Gables The sympathy or magnetism among human beings is more subtle and universal than we think it exists indeed among different classes of organized life and vibrates from one to another Hawthorne 178 Loosely based on the events of Hawthornes own life The House of the Seven Gables attempts to show the suffering of descendants forced to repent for the sins of their father while they are unknowingly renewing the curse by nurturing the ancestral greed that has passed through the generations O Connor 6 Thus the various themes of the novel reflect the central idea of continued sin through the greed and guilt of a declining family Each generation struggles to escape the sins of the past only to be thrust forcefully back to face the offenses of their forefathers The House of the Seven Gables is a tale of loneliness and greed caused by the sin of preceding generations The opening of the novel is set in puritan times during the Salem witch hunts The villainous Colonel Pyncheon wrongly accused the innocent Matthew Maule of witchcraft so that the Maule land would fall into the Pyncheon familys hands Upon his death Maule addressed Colonel Pyncheon from the scaffold and uttered a prophecyGod will give him blood to drink Hawthorne 4-5 The physical wrongdoing of Colonel Pyncheon against Matthew Maule was avenged at the formers death with the curse being fulfilled However the essence of the crime lived on through the generations By chapter two the focus of the novel has shifted to the modern generations of the Pyncheon family The family has severely declined since the Colonels time yet the curse of greed is as strong as ever The remains of the family consist of a decrepit spinster named Hepzibah now the caretaker of the house of the seven gables her insane brother Clifford who was just recently released from prison their devilish
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