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The House of the Seven Gables: An Influential Past
In the 19th century novel, The House of the Seven Gables, Nathanial Hawthorne explores how events of the past curse those living in the present. Colonel Pyncheon, a greedy and respected Puritan, wrongfully takes the land of the wizard Maule to build an extravagate home. After the wizard curses the house, the descendants of the Pyncheon family decline in all aspects of life. Hawthorne uses symbolic elements found throughout the house to prove that past events and generations directly influence the actions of present individuals.
Accordingly, Hawthorne fashions a parallel between the chickens and the Pyncheon family in order to demonstrate the Pyncheonís fall from grace. Much like the Pyncheon family, the chickens were once majestic. As time has passed, the chickens have decayed into pathetic creatures; ďIt was evident that the race [of chickens] had degenerated, like many a noble race besides, in consequence of too strict a watchfulness to keep it pureĒ (61). After generations of inbreeding to keep their blood clean, the chickens have diminished into ugly animals. The downfall of the chickens is directly influenced by decisions made in past generations. Both the Pynchoens and the chickens interbred in order to keep nobility in the family. The consequence of social isolation is represented in the chickenís decay, a decay that surrounds the house. The interbreeding also represents how Colonel Pyncheonís characteristics are ...