Tuesday, March 3, 2020

"The House of Seven Gables" by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Still a Fascinating Story

I first read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) 50 years ago. I recently reread it and discovered it was nothing like what I remembered, or what I thought I remembered. Superficially, the book tells the story of a woman in Puritan Boston who gives birth out of wedlock, is shunned and condemned by her fellow citizens, and thumbs her nose at them by embroidering a scarlet letter “A” on her dress. 

The novel is actually much more substantive – the story of a woman of rather independent mind caught between the opposing demands of her lover and those of her husband. It’s an exploration of guilt, love, steadfastness, loyalty, and redemption. 

I wondered if the same thing would be true of Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables, which I first and last read about that same 50 years ago. What I remembered was that it was a ghost story of sorts, not as wild as an Edgar Allen Poe story but in that vein. I reread it last month, and I discovered that memory misled me even more here than with The Scarlet Letter.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Photograph: Hawthorne in 1848.

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