The relentless working out of a curse on the Pyncheon family of Salem. who have inhabited the House of Seven Gables for generations, is reviewed two centuries later by their descendants, with surprising results. Seven 90-minute cassettes.
Nonetheless, "The House of the Seven Gables" has its pleasures. Hawthorne, the scion of an old Massachusetts Puritan family, injects an unusual sense of historical depth into his writings. This is certainly true of "The House of the Seven Gables," which explores the idea of character flaws, evil and retribution passed down from generation to generation in a single family. Of course not everyone in the family is guilty, but the sins of a few taint the lives of all. As in much of Hawthorne's work, the supernatural, sometimes implied and sometimes explicit, plays a role in the workings of the plot. Even the daguerrotypist--nothing but an early photographer to us--must have given the 19th century reader a frisson because of his combination of mesmeric powers and miraculous ability to produce telling images out of pure light.
Hawthorne is a master of description, an expert at using his words to create images that convey far more than simple visuals. Even when the plot seemed stale and the characters wooden, the author's use of the language made it worth continuing.Read more ›
The conclusion of the book involves death and hidden riches and suspicions and redemption. The symbols throughout--the house, the chimney, the elm tree, the chickens, etc.--manage to reveal their purposes in due time. In a satisfactory manner, Hawthorne contrasts the insidious nature of religious hypocrisy with the virtues of honesty and gentle love. The horrors of the Pyncheons' past fade away in the light of Phoebe's commitment and care. Her time in the house brings life to all within...all except one.
Hawthorne could've encapsulated this tale in one of his short stories. He could've sliced away words with meticulous demand. Instead, he allows us to know and care for the people in his story. Some readers, granted, will find it difficult to care and will call it a waste of their time; sure, it takes a little effort.Read more ›