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Johnson also evaluates the ending of the novel

Johnson also evaluates the ending of the novel and the change in Holgrave's attitude in light of the new economic security that allows the characters to embrace a new life in the Pyncheon country estate.

. . . The narrator has discoursed in the Preface and first chapter on the evils of "ill-gotten gold, or real estate," especially when it is passed down from one generation to the next. And Holgrave has explained his economic theories that recommend against inherited wealth as represented by buildings constructed of brick or stone. Clifford and Hepzibah have been too long in their respective prisons for the reader to be convinced that they will ever emerge. Their isolation is relieved only by the world's activity on their busy street. Now, in an instant, all this is undone -- the narrator's moral, Hepzibah's new found realities, Holgrave's economic theories, Clifford's urge to join the world. Discarding their old ghosts with the ease of taking off a shoe, they move out on the edge of town in a mansion built from Pyncheon greed, a house which Holgrave, now instantly conservative, plans to face in stone. What, one may ask, is going on? It doesn't appear to have anything to do with metaphysical certitude or moral regeneration. What causes these characters to turn around on a dime? Actually the answer may be in the figure. They turn around on a little more than a dime. The explanation of the chorus, who find it hard to see this as the work of Providence, is, "Pretty good business!" And they are right; the answer is money--pure and simple, the cumulatively tainted Pyncheon money.

It is not what the narrator's preface has led his readers to expect, but things do tend to fall into place. In looking back at the beginning of the story, we note again that the sympathetic characters are largely motivated by want of funds. Now, they have what will set things right. Morality and theories and laws and eternal verities and Providence be damned. Something else has "provided," coming to them as a role of the dice. It is what they needed. It is their salvation. Hawthorne, who only two years before was out of his political job, funds running low, only now beginning to eke out a meager living from his writing, would have believed that all his characters needed for their resolution was some capital. Furthermore, in dispelling the poverty of his characters, romance might do the same for him that it did for them. By formulating what the casual reader would take to be a popular entertainment, he might boost his career and eventually his capital.




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