Erlich, Gloria C.
"Elizabeth Hawthorne [Nathaniel Hawthorne's mother who was widowed when Nathaniel
was four] shared her family's liability to pulmonary disorders and headaches
but lacked their compensating energy." (63) Hepzibah also lacked energy. Her
endeavor to open a Cente Shoppe drained more energy from her. Phoebe's young
and vibrant energy was the element needed to make the shop a success. "After
the first great shock of her life [Elizabeth] tended to insulate herself in
secure and familiar circumstances." (63) Elizabeth's isolating herself in her
parent's home after her sea captain husband died of disease is parallel to Hepzibah's
isolating herself in Seven Gables after her beloved brother Clifford is sentenced
to prison for the murder of his uncle (Erlich 63).
"The testimony of Horatio Bridge, Nathaniel's close friend from college . .
. connects Hawthorne's personal reserve and avoidance of intimacy to his family's
isolated way of life. '[Hawthorne] . . . formed few intimacies and rarely sought
the friendship of others.'" (Erlich 66) Bridge's description of Hawthorne fits
Hepzibah and later her brother Clifford. Both live apart from the townspeople
and seem to have no intimate relationships besides the ones they form with Phoebe
and the connection with their boarder Holgrave and Uncle Venner whom they dine
with on Sundays.