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Choisya
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Re: HOTSG : When to start the discussion?


willowy wrote:
Liz, why don't you let us know when you are well into the first seven chapters. Others can check in then to help us decide when to begin discussing the first seven chapters in earnest. Does tis sound like a good plan, Robert? I have finished listening to the first seven chapters but plan to do so again since, through no fault of the book, I fell asleep a few times. I just hope I don't dream about the house!




When does this Book Club end - do we have time to wait for folks reading the book and then entering the discussion? In the old clubs we often couldn't manage to do that within the four weeks, even if folks had already bought the book. I prefer discussing a couple of chapters at a time whilst my mind is fresh - short term memory being a problem these days:smileyhappy:
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willowy
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Choisya

It's my understanding that there is no end date to this book club, that it will keep going until there is no more discussion. I agree, it was kinda hard sometimes on the old format to be able to discuss something for only four weeks, so I like having as much time as we need! I like your idea or discussing a few chapters at a time, I think we could get more out of it like that.
-----------Willowy----------
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables

Sounds good. When we begin, we can list a new thread by the chapters read, starting with Chapters 1-7.



willowy wrote:

Laurel wrote:


LizzieAnn wrote:
Are we starting this discussion now? Next week? I have to go replace my book and can't get to the bookstore until the weekend. I lost books in when I moved, and that one was of them.




Liz, why don't you let us know when you are well into the first seven chapters. Others can check in then to help us decide when to begin discussing the first seven chapters in earnest. Does tis sound like a good plan, Robert? I have finished listening to the first seven chapters but plan to do so again since, through no fault of the book, I fell asleep a few times. I just hope I don't dream about the house!





I think that's a good idea Laurel, like Liz I haven't gotten to start on the book yet, I just finally bought it yesterday! They have these new classic editions at my local B&N that has all the authors works in one book, so this one has all of Hawthorne's major works in it and its monsterous. I'll have to use Denise's idea or curling up on the couch and reading just to support the weight of it while I read!


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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fanuzzir
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Registered: ‎10-22-2006
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Re: Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables



Laurel wrote:


LizzieAnn wrote:
Are we starting this discussion now? Next week? I have to go replace my book and can't get to the bookstore until the weekend. I lost books in when I moved, and that one was of them.




Liz, why don't you let us know when you are well into the first seven chapters. Others can check in then to help us decide when to begin discussing the first seven chapters in earnest. Does tis sound like a good plan, Robert? I have finished listening to the first seven chapters but plan to do so again since, through no fault of the book, I fell asleep a few times. I just hope I don't dream about the house!


You have a great plan for discussion. Let's all try to read the seven chapters over the weekend, with or without candles, but with scary old houses in mind. I'll be trying my best to get a new copy--my old one fell apart--so please start without me; I'm a fast reader.
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donyskiw
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Re: Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables

Then I won't have to be a responsible adult, either!

Denise
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fanuzzir
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First seven chapters of House of the Seven Gables

We're just getting started with the curses, memories, the local history, the family history, and the burden of living with all this in the present. I'm anxious to hear what people think so far.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: First seven chapters of House of the Seven Gables



fanuzzir wrote:
We're just getting started with the curses, memories, the local history, the family history, and the burden of living with all this in the present. I'm anxious to hear what people think so far.




Just finished the first 7 chapters. It's so obvious that Hawthorne grew up in the shadow of Salem's history; it's evident in his story & writing. I've found the writing in this a little more ornate than I remember The Scarlet Letter being. However, it has been a while since I've read The Scarlet Letter, so I may be mistaken. But I am finding this a little more difficult to read.

First of all, the name Hepzibah just conjures up the Salem witch trials, and the dying curse of Matthew Maule goes hand-in-hand with it as well. The darkness of the house & its decay, the overgrown garden, the "shrinking" chickens, the returning prisoner, and of course the stern portrait of the Colonel have all the makings of a dark story.

Poor Hepzibah and Clifford seem likes ghosts or reminants of the persons that the could have been; while Phoebe is a "breath of fresh air" sweeping through the place, lighting it up with her charm and personality. Uncle Venner is like the town personality. Mr. Holgrave is, up to now, a dark horse, and we are not yet sure if he'll be a positive or negative influence. While Colonel Pyncheon and Matthew Maule have been gone for over a century and a half, there confrontation and its aftermath still have an affect on what's happening currently in the novel.
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Laurel
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Re: First seven chapters of House of the Seven Gables

And we mustn't forget the ghostly presence of the mysterious Alice Pyncheon.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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LizzieAnn
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Re: First seven chapters of House of the Seven Gables



Laurel wrote:
And we mustn't forget the ghostly presence of the mysterious Alice Pyncheon.




And the flowers growing on the roof!
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Laurel
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Marble and Mud

I was particularly struck by a sentence in the last paragraph of chapter 2 that accompanies the description of "our miserable old Hepzibah": "Life is made up of marble and mud." The narrator then references the goodwill of Providence and closes the chapter with his philosophy of the creative process: "What is called poetic insight is the gift of discerning, in this sphere of strangely-mingled elements, the beauty and the majesty which are compelled to assume a garb so sordid."

It seems to me that the character most capable of this discernment is Holgrave, the daguerreotypist. When he takes pictures, he says, the sunlight illuminates the true character of his subjects. It might not be a coincidence that Holgrave's name is so close to that of our author. At any rate, he's a character to keep one's eyes on.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Hepzibah

I can't help but like poor old dried up old Hepzibah, and I have hope for her. For one thing, her name is from the Old Testament and means "my delight is in her." It is used twice in the Bible, once in naming the wife of King Hezekiah and mother of Manasseh (1 Kings 21:1) and, more significantly, in a prophecy about Israel:

"Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." (Isa 62:4)

The name may sound ugly to us, but it was beautiful in its day.

(The only other Hepzibah I can think of is the foundling girl whom Silas Marner named after his mother, but who was mercifully called "Eppie." "Silas Marner" was published ten years after THSG, though.)
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Phoebe

A phoebe, of course, is a perky little bird, one of the first to arrive in New England in the spring and last to leave in the fall.

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/BOW/EASPHO/

The recording on that page didn't work for me, but this one did:

http://www.enature.com/partners/nwf/showSpeciesLG_nwf.asp?showType=4&rgnID=1599&curGroupID=1&curPageNum=164&recnum=BD0286

There was also a Titan named Phoebe, associated with the moon, and there is a Phoebe in the New Testament (Romans 16:1- 2), commended by Paul for her good works as a deaconness. The name is Greek and means "shining, pure." That's our girl! You just know that she is going to do some good in this old haunted house!
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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LizzieAnn
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Phoebe

Phoebe is a bright spot within the house, and it seems likely she'll be a bright spot in the whole story as well. She is bright, motivated, mature, and cheeful. Just as Phoebe opened the curtains in her room and let the light in, she seems to have done the same to the business and Hepzibah as well.

And don't forget that Phoebe is Holden Caulfield's sister in Catcher in the Rye! Another intelligent and mature Phoebe.



Laurel wrote:
A phoebe, of course, is a perky little bird, one of the first to arrive in New England in the spring and last to leave in the fall.

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/BOW/EASPHO/

The recording on that page didn't work for me, but this one did:

http://www.enature.com/partners/nwf/showSpeciesLG_nwf.asp?showType=4&rgnID=1599&curGroupID=1&curPageNum=164&recnum=BD0286

There was also a Titan named Phoebe, associated with the moon, and there is a Phoebe in the New Testament (Romans 16:1- 2), commended by Paul for her good works as a deaconness. The name is Greek and means "shining, pure." That's our girl! You just know that she is going to do some good in this old haunted house!


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Hepzibah

Hepzibah seems a sad character, one who's endured a hard life and has dried up from the lack of light and companionship. Hopefully with the entrance of Phoebe and the reappearance of Clifford, she'll find some brightness in her life and lose her perpetual scowl.



Laurel wrote:
I can't help but like poor old dried up old Hepzibah, and I have hope for her. For one thing, her name is from the Old Testament and means "my delight is in her." It is used twice in the Bible, once in naming the wife of King Hezekiah and mother of Manasseh (1 Kings 21:1) and, more significantly, in a prophecy about Israel:

"Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." (Isa 62:4)

The name may sound ugly to us, but it was beautiful in its day.

(The only other Hepzibah I can think of is the foundling girl whom Silas Marner named after his mother, but who was mercifully called "Eppie." "Silas Marner" was published ten years after THSG, though.)


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: What's in a name?



LizzieAnn wrote:
Hepzibah seems a sad character, one who's endured a hard life and has dried up from the lack of light and companionship. Hopefully with the entrance of Phoebe and the reappearance of Clifford, she'll find some brightness in her life and lose her perpetual scowl.



Laurel wrote:
I can't help but like poor old dried up old Hepzibah, and I have hope for her. For one thing, her name is from the Old Testament and means "my delight is in her." It is used twice in the Bible, once in naming the wife of King Hezekiah and mother of Manasseh (1 Kings 21:1) and, more significantly, in a prophecy about Israel:

"Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." (Isa 62:4)

The name may sound ugly to us, but it was beautiful in its day.

(The only other Hepzibah I can think of is the foundling girl whom Silas Marner named after his mother, but who was mercifully called "Eppie." "Silas Marner" was published ten years after THSG, though.)








I have hope for Hepzibah too Lizzie Ann and more so now that I have read the biblical quote you cited.

Someone has mentioned that Phoebe's name heralds Spring and in Greek mythology she was the Titan goddess of the Oracle of Delphi and the goddess of bright (phoibos) intellect. The Delphic Oracle was associated with the rites of ritual purification and Phoebe's cleaning and brightening up of the HOTSG seems to indicate that this was what was in Hawthorne's mind when he named this character.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Marble and Mud

Both Laurel and Lizzie Ann are making some pretty valuable points about Holgrave, whom I do think is a Hawthorne stand-in, particularly as he takes up the role of portraitist in the novel. Hawthorne was desperate to perform his own exorcism in his career--adding the "w" in the middle of his name differentiated him from his witch-trial ancestor Hathorne, and there is clearly a recrimination and self-recrimination about the founding of the New England family tree in the opening two chapters. So I think that Holgrave will come in for some abuse, if Hawthorne is being fair to himself.
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fanuzzir
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Re: What's in a name?

I share this faith, especially after reading the lovely, moving biblical quotation that Laurel found. Thank you so much--I think also of early New Englanders need to see their own history in the story of the Chosen People in the Old Testament, and your selection makes all the more sense.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Marble and Mud

I didn't know that about Hawthorne. If Holgrave really is a stand-in for Hawthorne, it should be interesting to see how his character goes. He is an unsettling character - one not easy to peg. In chapter 3: "...answered the artist, a strange gleam of half-hidden sarcasm flashing through the kindliness of his manner." I'm curious as what kiind of a character he'll turn out to be.



fanuzzir wrote:
Both Laurel and Lizzie Ann are making some pretty valuable points about Holgrave, whom I do think is a Hawthorne stand-in, particularly as he takes up the role of portraitist in the novel. Hawthorne was desperate to perform his own exorcism in his career--adding the "w" in the middle of his name differentiated him from his witch-trial ancestor Hathorne, and there is clearly a recrimination and self-recrimination about the founding of the New England family tree in the opening two chapters. So I think that Holgrave will come in for some abuse, if Hawthorne is being fair to himself.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Laurel
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Mysteries


LizzieAnn wrote:
If Holgrave really is a stand-in for Hawthorne, it should be interesting to see how his character goes. He is an unsettling character - one not easy to peg. In chapter 3: "...answered the artist, a strange gleam of half-hidden sarcasm flashing through the kindliness of his manner." I'm curious as what kiind of a character he'll turn out to be.







Hawthorne is doing a great job of arousing my curiosity. He's have been a good mystery writer. Some mysteries so far:

1. Did old Colonel Pyncheon really die a natural death?

2. Why did he chose the son of his enemy to build his house.

3. Why did his enemy's son want to build the house?

4. What became of Alice Pyncheon?

5. Was Clifford sent to jail for a crime he did not commit? If so, who did commit the crime, and why was Clifford committed?

6. Why would Holgrave want to live in this dark, musky old house? Is he a man with a past? Are he and Phoebe destined to fall in love?

7. Hawthorne says his book is a "history of retribution for the sin of long ago" (in the important last paragraph of chapter 2). What will the retribution be? Upon whose head will it fall?

What can you add to this list?
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Mysteries

Good questions Laurel. Others that occur:

1 - Why did Judge Pyncheon build a house outside of town?

2 - Is Holgrave up to something sinister?

3 - What does Alice supposedly haunt the House of Seven Gables?

4 - What is the Judge really up to? Why does he appear so genial and kind in person, and yet his daguerreotype shows a hard and cold man? What significance will this have?

5 - Why must Colonel Pyncheon stay on the wall - why can't it be removed?
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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