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Nathanial Hawethorne's Novel "House Of The Seven Gables"

1598 words - 7 pages

Fairytales appeal to readers because they deal with good and evil characters in entertaining scenarios. Part of the appeal of fairytales is their "happy-ever-after" endings. The resolution of fairytales usually results in evil characters succeeded by good characters. Fairytales also involve love, release from entrapment and rightful gain. The conclusion of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, The House of the Seven Gables, presents an idealized wish-world for the reader by appealing to the reader's desire for a "happy-ever-after" ending using fairytale qualities.
One particular quality of a fairytale ending which is present in The House of the Seven Gables is the succession of good over evil. ...view middle of the document...

Her reaction is a more implied rather than stated. She has an unconscious first reaction of drawing away and the Judge reacts in anger prior to maintaining control over his emotions. The Judge even pretends concern for Clifford and Hepzibah, however his false concern is merely a cover for his greediness.

Hawthorne concludes the Judge's character with his death. His death satisfies the reader's desire for a happy ending, not by his death its self but rather from the justice of the situation. The Judge has been a burden to Hepzibah and Clifford. His false concern has created tension among the family. After Clifford discovers the Judge's corpse he says, "The weight is gone, Hepzibah; it is gone off this of this weary old world; and we may be as light-hearted as little Phoebe herself!" (250). The reader feels justice has been served, and the Judge deserves his punishment. The Judge lived and died with greed.

Love is major theme in fairytale happy endings and is illustrated in such stories by the Brothers Grimm as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and the Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen. These fairytales involve a princess and princess. The princess in The House of the Seven Gables would be Phoebe and her prince would be Holgrave. At one point in the story Holgrave describes his feeling toward Phoebe. He says, "It seems to me, [...] that I never watched the coming of so beautiful an eve, and never felt anything so very much like happiness as at this moment" (214).

Love, as a fairytale element, appeals to the reader because it can be related to everyday life. It is something that many people dream about for them selves. Holgrave and Phoebe's relationship also appeals to the reader because it represents the end of a feud between two families and the end of a curse. Phoebe and Holgrave also appeal to the reader's desire for a happy ending because they can be compared to Shakespeare's star-crossed lover, Romeo and Juliet. Romance, in general, appeals to the reader.

A third fairytale element present in the resolution to Hawthorne's novel is a release from entrapment. Entrapment and release are demonstrated in a number of fairy tales, including the polar bear prince in East O'the Sun and West O'the Moon, Rupunzel locked in her tower, and the beast in Beauty and the Beast. Clifford is one character who symbolizes entrapment and release in The House of the Seven Gables. Clifford has been released from entrapment both physically and mentally. After serving time in prison for the murder of his uncle, Clifford is released back into society.

Clifford also experiences another instance of release from entrapment. Following the Judge's death Hawthorne writes:
The shock of Judge Pyncheon's death has a [n...] ultimately beneficial effect on Clifford. [...] He never, it is true, attained to nearly the full measure of what might have been his faculties. But he recovered enough of them to partially light up his...

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