The House of the Seven Gables
author : nathaniel hawthorne
pages : [paperback] 502
I needed to read this book for school, right after we read The Scarlet Letter. While I didn’t particularly enjoy either book I definitely see the reason why The Scarlet Letter is a more popular book to read in classes. The House of the Seven Gables is a boring book that takes a few hundred pages to tell a simple story. It’s very easy to see the themes and ideas Hawthorne attempted to convey through the book. Apparently he intended to write a brighter, more romantic story after he completed The Scarlet Letter. This book was still rather depressing and the romance was odd and not a delight to read about at all.
The Pyncheons are for the most part an overly privileged rich family brought down by a supposed curse placed on them by the Maules. There was the opportunity here to bring in some interesting supernatural aspects but I don’t think the opportunity was ever fully utilized, even though it was obvious that everything supernatural was only symbolic and not intended to be taken seriously.
I don’t recommend reading this book on your own for personal enjoyment. It definitely doesn’t stand up against the test of time. Although there are certain aspects of the themes that can still be relevant today, like the class conflicts and questions about gender roles. But the dry way the story is told, accompanied by the lack of plot flow and an interesting climax, made this book a chore to read.