Passages on Holgrave Related to The Artist and Alienation from The House of the Seven Gables
Literature Related to Holgrave in The House of the Seven Gables
Holgrave and Phoebe on Pocket Version of (courtesy of Dr. John L. Idol, Jr.)
When he first appears in the novel in Chapter Four "The First Customer,"
Holgrave converses with Hepzibah about the opening of her cent-shop. He attempts
to encourage her in her endeavors and expresses his critical
views of aristocracy and gentility.
In the chapter "The Pyncheon Garden" Phoebe meets Holgrave. They have a
humorous conversation about the Pyncheon chickens, revealing the lighter side
of Holgrave's character. He tells her about his efforts in gardening and his
work as a daguerreotypist. He claims that a daguerreotype can reveal an individual's
secret character in the way a painter never dares.
In the first portion of Chapter 12, "The Daguerreotypist," Hawthorne offers
more insight into Holgrave's character, his views
of social conditions, and his preference for the future over the past. Holgrave
admits his humble origins and lack of formal education. His comments reveal
his lack of a fixed and stable place in the social order, suggesting his alienation
from middle-class life. His participation in a Fourierist community links
him to utopian thinking of the nineteenth century. The narrative suggests,
however, that beneath his surface changeability, Holgrave has "never violated
the innermost man."
Later in Chapter 12, Holgrave admits his interest in the Pyncheons and their
past, but does not explain a reason for it. He also remarks upon the difference
between his sensibility and Phoebe's. The narrative suggests that Holgrave's
idealism is appropriate for a man of his age (22), but leaves the possibility
of his acting on his professed beliefs more open-ended.
Toward the end of Chapter 12, Hawthorne presents the continuing interaction
between Holgrave and Phoebe, during which Holgrave declares his rejection
of the past and admits that he writes stories for magazines.
In Chapter 13, Holgrave narrates his story of "Alice
Pyncheon," whom he depicts as a proud young woman who is mesmerized and
ultimately destroyed by one of the Maules.
At the beginning of Chapter 14, "Phoebe's Good-by," Holgrave discovers that
he has mesmerized Phoebe with his words and has
her under his power, but the decision he makes reveals that he will not exploit
her as his ancestor had Alice.
During Phoebe's absence from the Seven Gables, Jaffrey invades the house,
threatening Hepzibah. When Hepzibah discovers Jaffrey dead in the great chair,
she and Clifford flee the house, leaving it eerily silent. Holgrave
questions Uncle Venner about this silence at the beginning of Chapter
19, "Alice's Poesies," neither man having any idea what has happened. They
comment on the possibility of ghosts and Venner hints at his awareness of
Holgrave's love for Phoebe when he mentions Alice's poesies.
In Chapter 20, "The Flower of Eden," Phoebe returns to Seven Gables, and
she and Holgrave realize that they are alone in the
house. Holgrave tells her of Jaffrey's death and of the disappearance
of Hepzibah and Clifford. He also informs her of his suspicion that it was
Jaffrey who arranged the circumstantial evidence used to convict Clifford.
Holgrave confesses that he is a Maule,
reclaiming the part of his identity that he has kept hidden. His need to conceal
his true self has served as one sign of his alienation in the novel, but his
relationship with Phoebe has allowed him to resolve this issue.
In the final chapter, "The Departure" Holgrave admits his new conservative
leanings, a change of sensibility that surprises Phoebe and has prompted
comment from many critics. Holgrave makes no further mention of an artistic
or authorial vocation, suggesting that his newfound love and contentment have
eased the alienation that aided his artistic pursuits.