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The House of the Seven Gables Teaching Unit
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- Phoebe is often described as angelic and full of light. Describe the effect her presence has on the house and its occupants. Why is it important that she is a Pyncheon?
- Holgrave, the daguerreotypist, does not reveal his family name until the end of the novel. How does his choice of occupation reflect on his role in the story? What clues do we have to explain his presence in the House of the Seven Gables?
- How do Anti-Transcendentalist beliefs of Hawthorne’s era affect the outcome of this novel. How?
- Often the wisest person in the story is considered the most foolish. Describe how Uncle Venner plays this role and how the story would be different without this character.
- Explain how Hawthorne uses the narrator to draw the reader into the story.
- Some critics say that Holgrave’s conversion to conservatism at the end of the novel is hypocritical and weakens the plot. How would you support or refute this criticism?
- Many of Hawthorne’s characters live solitary and isolated lives. How does this contribute to the underlying theme of sin being passed down through the generations?
- The narrator pauses much of the plot of the story by placing a character on the physical threshold of the next space. Discuss these scenes and how they impact the plot of the story.
About this Document
A teaching unit and individual learning packet from Prestwick House. Includes the following: comprehensive chapter-by-chapter study guides for students; questions suitable for essay topics or discussion; vocabulary lists; multiple-choice and essay test with answer key; introductory material from Prestwick House to familiarize both students and teachers with the work.