Explore Activities for The Artist and Alienation on Holgrave in The House of the Seven Gables
Explore Activities for The Artist and Alienation on Holgrave in The House
of the Seven Gables
Holgrave and Phoebe on Pocket Version of (courtesy of Dr. John L. Idol, Jr.)
You have just been hired as an assistant editor at Godey's Lady's Book and
your boss has given you a story entitled "Alice Pyncheon"
that has been submitted for publication by an unknown author named Holgrave.
You must decide whether his story is appropriate for your magazine. You decide
to look at some other issues of Godey's
to help you decide how to respond to Holgrave's work. Based on what you see
in these other issues, what will you tell Holgrave? What suggestions might
you make so that his story "fits" your publication? How does his story compare
to those that are published in the issues you examine?
As a writer as well as photographer, Holgrave must make notes about what
he sees and hears in the house of the seven gables, especially as he encounters
the other characters. Hawthorne never allows the reader to see Holgrave's
notebook. Pretend that you are Holgrave and write some sample entries for
his writer's notebook. You might wish to record his impressions of Phoebe
or of Hepzibah or of Clifford. You might also write about how he views the
house itself, or what he sees in the garden, or what he thinks of Uncle Venner.
You might even want to record some entries that reveal how he feels about
himself and the way he has concealed his true identity. Use the selections
that appear in the Resources: Related
Literature section to provide you with some details for your writing.
Before photography was widely accepted, people thought that it might be
"the devil's work" or in some way related to supernatural powers (visit http://www.eyeconart.net/history/photography.htm
for further information). Why might this make photography an appropriate art
for Holgrave to practice? What does he reveal about photography or daguerreotypes
that suggest that the process does have an unexplained power in capturing
people's characters as well as their likenesses? To see examples of daguerreotypes
for examples of those made in Boston during Hawthorne's day. What might you
guess about the people whose portraits you see?