The House of the Seven Gables, published in 1851 by the notable Boston publisher Ticknor, Reed & Fields, is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s third novel. Some of the novel’s themes can be found in his previous writings, specifically in Legends of the Province House (1830s) and “Peter Goldthwaite’s Treasure” (also written in the 1830s). In both of these tales, as in The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne explores issues of class and the pursuit of wealth against the backdrop of decaying residences. Interestingly, in terms of plot, The House of the Seven Gables reflects actual events in Hawthorne’s life and his family’s history. He came from a long history of privilege in New England, yet faced poverty following the death of his father. Some critics have drawn parallels between Hepzibah’s reticence to open the cent-shop and Hawthorne’s own angst about publishing his writing. Further, Hawthorne’s great-grandfather, John Hathorne (as the family’s name was then spelled), was one of three judges who presided over the witchcraft trials of 1692. Like Colonel Pyncheon, John Hathorne played a role (a direct one in fact) in putting people to death for alleged witchcraft practices. Some writers have commented on Hawthorne’s interest in the legacy of past family sins, which is a central theme in The House of the Seven Gables, because of his greatgrandfather’s involvement in the death of twenty wrongfully accused people. In the end, the characters in The House of the Seven Gables appear to be freed from the curse that has haunted their families for centuries. Though some speculate that Hawthorne forced a happy ending to this work to satisfy his publisher, and ultimately his readers, perhaps Hawthorne himself believed in the possibility that people have the ability to escape their pasts.