, Research Paper
The House of Seven Gables: What are the effects of Romance used in the novel-as defined by Hawthorne in his Preface-on the moral of the story?
In The House of Seven Gables Hawthorne uses Romantic elements to make the moral of the story more believable. The romantic elements of the novel add suspicion to the truth of the moral. In The House of Seven Gables the moral stated in the preface is: that the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and, divesting itself of every temporary advantage, becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief (2).
One of the romantic elements that adds to the believability of the moral is the gurgling of blood in the throats of successive generations. When anyone heard Pyncheons clearing their throats they though that they were having blood to drink because of the curse of Matthew Maule. This is a romantic element because it wasn t really blood, but people were lead to believe this because of the curse. So whenever there was a gurgle in the throat of a Pyncheon it reaffirmed the moral that the wrongs of one generation will go into the other generations. This is supporting the moral because Matthew Maule cursed the Colonel by saying: God will give him blood to drink (8). So the gurgle in the future generations throats furthered the curse and helped to support the moral of the story.
Another romantic element that helps to prove the moral is the similarity of the Colonel and Judge Pyncheon. They both are extremely similar in their physical features and the ways that they both died. Their physical features are so close that Phoebes can not distinguish between a picture of the Judge and the familiar painting of the Colonel. This is a romantic element because it relates the two different generations on their physical features. Now the two generations are related by more than the curse, but it seems they are one in the same. Both the Judge and the Colonel die of the same inherited affliction in which it seems that they have had blood to drink. So when the Judge died the same way that the Colonel did, the curse was brought forward and the moral of the story was supported again.
One of the other romantic elements of the novel that helped to support the moral is the element of hypnosis. This element of romance helped the moral of the story by further explaining the curse and relations between the Maules and Pyncheons. Hypnotism was used by Matthew Maule on Alice Pyncheon. In this case Maule took out revenge on Alice for the wrongs that the Colonel did to his Grandfather. So this supports the moral because the wrongs of the Colonel lived on to adversely effect Alice Pyncheon. By this happening the curse of ill will against the Pyncheons seemed to live on.
Hawthorne masterfully used romantic elements to support the moral of the story that he stated in his preface. The romantic elements were used to blend with the truth to make the moral of the story more believable by providing examples of its occurrence. The House of Seven Gables was littered with elements of romance that helped to make the moral of the story more realistic.