Symbolism in the House of the Seven Gables

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Use of Symbolism in Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables

In the novel The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne portrays Alice Pyncheon as a unique and compelling character, placing her in contrast with a story full of greed, lies and betrayal. Hawthorne reveals her fantastic character to us in numerous uses of symbolism throughout the novel. By painting a picture of a gentle yet proud woman, Hawthorne chooses to represent Alice's impressive characteristics using images that come up repeatedly in his novel such as the nature and flowers in the garden as well as Alice's Posies. Hawthorne also makes reference to the Maule "mastery" and its power over Alice and the playing of the harpsichord during a Pyncheon death. All the symbols culminated above, lead to an in depth analysis of Alice Pyncheon's character, her innocence, pride, beauty and mournful sorrow.

According to Hawthorne, Alice had an uncanny resemblance to the flowers of the Pyncheon garden represented by her beauty and presence. Just as flowers hold a purity and freedom in their appearance, Alice was describ...

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...ape her undying character. With her loss of pride to the Maule "mastery" and the sorrow expressed through her untimely and unnecessary death, there is no question as to why Alice's harpsichord plays such a mournful tune throughout the novel. It is only in the end that her life and her happiness are rewarded and her long awaiting spirit is drawn towards the heavens to have her spirit rest in peace.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The House of the Seven Gables. New York: The New American Library of World Literature, Inc, 1961.
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