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Excerpts from Chapter 20, "Flower of Eden,"

In her essay "The Chief Employ of Her Life," in Hawthorne and Women edited by John L. Idol, Jr. and Melinda Ponder, Luanne Jenkins Hurst cites some of Sophia Hawthorne's responses to The House of the Seven Gables, especially to Phoebe's character.

"After [Hawthorne] read the end of The House of the Seven Gables to her, Sophia wrote to her mother:

'. . . How you will enjoy the book,--its depth of wisdom, its high tone, the flowers of Paradise scattered over all the dark places, the sweet wall-flower scent of Phoebe's character, the wonderful pathos and charm of old Uncle Venner' (51).

Hurst indicates that "three weeks later [Sophia] wrote a more extensive critique to her sister Elizabeth:

'. . . The Rosebud Phoebe blooms on the darker [picture as Juliet shone on the night, like a jewel in an Ethiop's ear. And Alice's pale, stately head bends like a regal white lily before a rough gale'" (51). (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)

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