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House of the Seven Gables: Sins Represented by Characters

Essay by review  •  February 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  419 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,219 Views

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In the novel, The House of the Seven Gables, the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, makes it known that the novel and characters (including the house itself) tie in with the seven deadly sins of the Christianity faith. The characters of the novel, The House of the Seven Sins, represent the sins (sloth, envy, lust, avarice, anger, gluttony, and pride). Also the sins have a major role in the theme of the story.

Greed (or Avarice)-Most characters in this novel represent greed, at least most of the Pyncheon family does. Hawthorne makes it clear that the down fall of the family, isn't necessarily the curse that Matthew Maule cast upon them, but that their greed, their constant want for more than what they have is, to blame for their misfortunate. The character that most embodies this trait is Judge Pyncheon.

Anger-Clifford Pyncheon feels both anger and resentment towards his cousin, Judge Pyncheon, throughout the novel because Judge Pyncheon framed him for the murder of their uncle.

Envy-Colonel Pyncheon was envious of Matthew Maule's land. While Hepzibah was envious of Phoebe's ability to work and sell things at Hepzibah's shop. I think Phoebe was envious of Holgrave's outlook on life.

Sloth-I believe Hepzibah is the character that represents this sin. She believes since she is a Pyncheon and the last in a line of aristocrats, that the life of a merchant is unfit for her. She puts off having to open her shop and doesn't give much effort when she does.

Lust-Hepzibah seems to constantly look at the portrait of the young man that hangs in the house, though Hawthorne continually deigns that the young man was ever her lover. And towards the middle of the book, it becomes obvious that Holgrave and Phoebe like each other.

Gluttony-After Clifford is released for jail, he excessively eats. Also the customers that come to Hepzibah's store, buy all of her cookies and bread.

Pride-Pride plays a big part in the novel. All the Pyncheons, with the exception of Phoebe, take great great pride in being a Pyncheon and an aristocrat. Even with their constant downfall and financial trouble, they still look down upon people who are not of aristocratic blood.

The seven deadly sins tie in with the theme of book, by representing the characters. Also there are constant symbols, like the seven gables or chickens, that could be said to be also representative of the sins. Also Hawthorne states

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