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The Analysis of Light and Dark Imagery Nathaniel Hawthornes The House of the Seven Gables uses many qualities of symbolism which help develop the novels main ideas Darkness is the emblematic color of the Pyncheons Contrasted with its opposite light it forms one of the major symbols of the novel the opposition of dark and light Hawthorne uses dark imagery throughout his novel to express a sense of decay but he also uses light imagery to inject hope Nathaniel Hawthorne in The House of the Seven Gables describes Phoebe as an illuminating speck of light transforming the darkness of the house like the light of dawn 92 This description of Phoebe using light imagery expresses that she is an innocent woman with an inner spirit to help break the Pyncheons curse Clark Giffith records in Hawthornes Imagery The Proper Light and Shadow in the Major Romances that Phoebe is rather too obviously a little ray of sunshine 37 When Phoebe enters the house from the sunny daylight and is almost blinded by the density of shadows lurking in the passages of the old house the contrast between Phoebes lighted presence against the dark gloomy house can be seen The old Pyncheon-elm which stands over the house is a symbol of resurrection from the darkness and decay In Chapter nineteen Alices Posies the Pyncheon elm is suddenly filled with the morning sun in fact one branch of the elm has been transmutated to bright gold The elm is particularly special at the end of the novel because it was left unharmed after the storm the rest of the tree is in perfect verdure a symbol of life not of death The tree has come to symbolize nature and natures resurrection and in a sense this resurrection of nature provides a strong image of hope Masterpieces of American Literature suggests As the house and its inhabitants have
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