Three Women in the House of The Seven Gables:Phoebe
Three Women in The House of the Seven Gables: Phoebe
Picture of chicken yard from House of the Seven Gables(courtesy of Dr. John L. Idol, Jr.)
Phoebe, Hepzibah's young cousin from the country, offers contrasts to Hepzibah.
Hepzibah is timid, reclusive, uncomfortable with shoppers at the Cente Shoppe,
and fixed with a perpetually sour expression. Phoebe, on the other hand, is
curious, socially at ease, charmed by the shoppers, and in the bloom of youth.
However, the two form a close relationship as Hepzibah provides a home for Phoebe
and Phoebe provides companionship to Hepzibah and cheerfully takes over the
shop-keeping duties. Together they care for the tired, much maligned Clifford
Pyncheon who has just spent 30 years in jail falsely accused for the murder
of his uncle. Phoebe Pyncheon's uplifting spirit transforms the dreary Seven
Gables, the forlorn Clifford, the wasted Hepzibah, and the bitter Holgrave.
Scenes from the following eight chapters capture her spirit and growth: 4, 5,
6, 7, 9, 14, 19, and 20.
In Chapter 7 - "The Guest," Phoebe works with
Hepzibah on the occasion of Clifford's return after a 30-year absence in prison,
to prepare him a feast for his first full meal in freedom. In the garden Phoebe
becomes acquainted with Chanticleer, the rooster, a symbol of the decline
of the Pyncheon former stature. (Full
text of chapter 7 - "The Guest"
In chapter 14 - "Phoebe's Goodbye," Phoebe comes
under Holgrave's spell, and the artist resists the temptation to control her
spirit. Therefore, Phoebe, unlike Alice, remains free to choose to love him.
She departs from the house wiser and more thoughtful than when she came. She
promises Uncle Venner to return. (Full
text of chapter 14 - "Phoebe's Goodbye"
In chapter 20 - "The Flower of Eden," Phoebe returns
to Seven Gables, anxiously needing to learn what has befallen Clifford and
Hepzibah. She finds a haven in Holgrave's embrace. The young couple declare
their love for each other. (Full
text of chapter 19 - "Alice's Posies"