Essay A Comparison of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

Essay A Comparison of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

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A Comparison of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of America's most renowned authors, demonstrates his extraordinary talents in two of his most famed novels, The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. To compare these two books seems bizarre, as their plots are distinctly different. Though the books are quite seemingly different, the central themes and Hawthorne's style are closely related (Carey, p. 62). American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne is most famous for his books THE SCARLET LETTER and THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES, which are closely related in theme, the use of symbolism, characterization, and style.


The central themes in The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables are very similar as they indicate Hawthorne's ideals through writing. Throughout both of these novels, the theme of heart vs. Head is very apparent. In The Scarlet Letter, the heart leads Hester and Dimmesdale to commit an dreadful sin, but the intellect thoroughly damns Chillingworth (Rountree, p. 78). This same theme is easily evident when we recall the characters of Colonel and Jaffrey Pyncheon in The House of the Seven Gables. Not only are these two selfish with what power they already posses, but they are ruthless in obtaining more land and wealth (Crowley, p. 74). In both novels, the theme of heart vs. head played the central plot of each and was also evident in smaller scenes throughout each. During the course of The Scarlet Letter, Hester is developing mind as Dimmesdale is gaining heart (Rountree, p. 91). When Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the forest, Dimmesdale can at last be true; he can turn completely out of himself as their two hearts are once ...

... middle of paper ...

...ster Prynne

2. Clifford Pyncheon

D. Appearance vs. Reality


II. Hawthorne's use of symbolism

A. The Scarlet Letter

1. Scarlet Letter A

2. The Scaffold

3. Pearl

B. The House of the Seven Gables

1. The House

2. The Portrait

3. The Mirror


III. Comparable aspects of Hawthorne's characterization in The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

A. Evil Characters

1. Roger Chillingworth

2. Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon

B. Characters with a misleading outward appearance

1. Hester Prynne

2. Hepzibah Pyncheon

3. Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon


IV. The similarities of style in The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

A. Romance

1. "The Custom House" and "The Preface"

2. Use of morals

B. Use of Images

1. Rosebush at the Prison-Door

2. Alice's Posies


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