Symbolism in The House of Seven Gables

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Symbolism in The House of Seven Gables Literature reflects life, and the struggles that each of us must face. Great authors incorporate life's problems into their literature directly and indirectly. The author bluntly tell us a story, however, he or she may also use symbols to relay to us a message in a more subtle manner. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The House of Seven Gables symbolism is used to enhance the story being told, by giving us a deeper insight into the author's intentions in writing the story. The book begins by describing the most obvious symbol of the house itself. The house itself takes on human like characteristics as it is being described by Hawthorne in the opening chapters. The house is described as "breathing through the spiracles of one great chimney"(Hawthorne 7). Hawthorne uses descriptive lines like this to turn the house into a symbol of the lives that have passed through its halls. The house takes on a persona of a living creature that exists and influences the lives of everybody who enters through its doors. (Colacurcio 113) "So much of mankind's varied experience had passed there - so much had been suffered, and something, too, enjoyed - that the very timbers were oozy, as with the moisture of a heart." (Hawthorne 27). Hawthorne turns the house into a symbol of the collection of all the hearts that were darkened by the house. "It was itself like a great human heart, with a life of its own, and full of rich and somber reminiscences" (Hawthorne 27). Evert Augustus Duyckinck agrees that "The chief perhaps, of the dramatis personae, is the house itself. From its turrets to its kitchen, in every nook and recess without and within, it is alive and vital." (Hawthorne 352) Duyckinck feels that the house is meant to be used as a symbol of an actual character, "Truly it is an actor in the scene"(Hawthorne 352). This turns the house into an interesting, but still depressing place that darkens the book in many ways. Hawthorne means for the house's gloomy atmosphere to symbolize many things in his book. The house also is used to symbolize a prison that has darkened the lives of its inmates forever. The house is a prison because it prevents its inhabitants form truly enjoying any freedom. The inhabitants try to
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