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ELee
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Modus Operandi: drinking Maule’s blood

Curiosity about the medical side of this phenomenon (not such a stretch for me because I am surrounded by cardiologists at my workplace), led me to do a little research. Holgrave tells us that this “mode of death” was a physiological peculiarity with the Pyncheon family (had hereditary aspects), which occurred at an advanced age and was generally triggered by an excess of stress or emotion (anger/rage). Judge Pyncheon’s physical appearance is described as massive and portly, with a greasy, “full-fed physiognomy” and fatty neck. We learn from the narrator that the Judge had experienced symptoms that included visual disturbance, dizziness, a choking sensation or gurgling in the thorax, and chest pain. My diagnosis for having “Maule’s blood to drink” is a ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm.

The occurrence of TAA may be hereditary, or it can be the result of congenital heart abnormalities that are. Contributing factors would include obesity, hyperlipidemia and hypertension from an excessive lifestyle resulting in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). TAA can lead to congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which create symptoms such as the coughing up of fluid (that would account for the characteristic “gurgling”). As long as it remains stable, a TAA is virtually asymptomatic, but the rupture of a small aneurysm could present symptoms like those attributed to Judge Pyncheon before his death. Whatever occurred between Clifford and the Judge in the parlor must have raised his blood pressure to the point of causing a fatal rupture and hemorrhaging.
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Laurel
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Re: Modus Operandi: drinking Maule’s blood

Great detective work, ELee. Thanks!
"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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ELee
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Left Hand

In Holgrave's legend of the Pyncheon family history, he states that when Maule's grave was searched the skeleton was found to be missing the right hand. Having only a left hand reinforces the implication that Maule was associated with witchcraft and a servant of the devil. The left hand or left side has long been linked with evil and unholiness. In Christianity, the sinners/non-followers are placed on the left hand of God. In religion, a Left-Hand path focuses on the carnal rather than the spiritual and values the preservation of the self, instead of practicing selflessness that seeks unity with the divine.
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ELee
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Hawthorne and Phoebe

"I just don't think he respects Phoebe"

My copy of THOTSG has a note that states that "Phoebe" was a pet name Hawthorne had for his wife, and that it is likely her character was based on or meant as a tribute to her. I had similar feelings about his seeming lack of respect for Phoebe, especially since he appears to emphasize that women are not as strong as men, in any aspect. But it would not make sense for him to belittle his wife, as I understand that he loved her very much. The more I reread parts of this work, the more I am inclined to think that he may have sacrificed a little "respect" in emphasizing how much Holgrave and Phoebe are "opposites". Holgrave is characterized as a thinking man, while Phoebe is greatly intuitive. Her attributes seem to be more "built in" than his, and Hawthorne does acknowledge her remarkable personal strength. Holgrave has a strong and restless spirit, but it has been tempered by the mental calculation that would be required to be self-sufficient at an early age.

What are your reactions to his treatment of Phoebe?
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Laurel
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Re: Discuss the End (spoiler)

I didn't much like Holgrave's timing for professing his love to Phoebe. There's a dead man in the next room, he's been covering up evidence, the police may arrive at any minute. I think I would have lost all respect for him then and there and sent him packing.
"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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Sins of the Fathers

Our novel ends satisfactorily by giving natural causes to all that had seemed to be supernatural in a spooky way. This reminds me strongly of what Chesterton does over and over in his imaginative works.
"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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fanuzzir
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Re: Hawthorne and Phoebe

That is a remarkable reading that I have alot of sympathy with. I see in Phoebe's acquiescence to Holgrave at the end a male fantasy of a female desire to be lead; it's indisputable that Holgrave/Hawthorne has his "arts" acquired, as you say, but for that reason, they are more adaptable to the modern world and its demands. Please tune in as we discuss the last act of the novel, when that "courtship comes to fruition."
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fanuzzir
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Re: Hawthorne and the Bible

Yes, that is my point! That Hawthorne could find in the history of New England a less flattering version of the Biblical stories than the Puritans told about themselves when they set foot in the New World (God's chosen people, to begin with). It's for smart readers to see the biblical patterns in the novel; we're still left with the conundrum of whether this is a secular drama upgraded with biblical themes or a biblical story downgraded with the fates of ordinary people. I wonder.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Left Hand

Did I mention I'm left handed? This novel is oppressive to my people! Seriously, wonderful insights--I'm really learning alot from your biblical readings, and it helps me see Hawthorne's ambitions for the novel--let's keep in mind that he was acquring and distorting an awesome history of "typology" or interpretive readings of the Bible that saw reflections and portents in every aspect of the present, and that New England fiction took on an echo chamber quality for that reason.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Hawthorne and Henry James

No, he said ashamedly.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Family inheritance and travel

Clifford's rant about mobility and placelessness also means that he is ready to give up the leaden promise of inheritance and contemplating the influence of the literal engine of the new capitalist world, the railroad.
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Chapters X and XI: Futility

[ Edited ]
These passages are depressing! From Chapter X,

The second of Chanticleer's two wives, ever since Phoebe's arrival, had been in a state of heavy despondency, caused, as it afterwards appeared, by her inability to lay an egg. One day, however, by her self-important gait, the sideways turn of her head, and the **bleep** of her eye, as she pried into one and another nook of the garden,--croaking to herself, all the while, with inexpressible complacency,--it was made evident that this identical hen, much as mankind undervalued her, carried something about her person the worth of which was not to be estimated either in gold or precious stones. Shortly after, there was a prodigious cackling and gratulation of Chanticleer and all his family, including the wizened chicken, who appeared to understand the matter quite as well as did his sire, his mother, or his aunt. That afternoon Phoebe found a diminutive egg,--not in the regular nest, it was far too precious to be trusted there,--but cunningly hidden under the currant-bushes, on some dry stalks of last year's grass. Hepzibah, on learning the fact, took possession of the egg and appropriated it to Clifford's breakfast, on account of a certain delicacy of flavor, for which, as she affirmed, these eggs had always been famous. Thus unscrupulously did the old gentlewoman sacrifice the continuance, perhaps, of an ancient feathered race, with no better end than to supply her brother with a dainty that hardly filled the bowl of a tea-spoon!
and from Chapter XI,

Possibly some cynic, at once merry and bitter, had desired to signify, in this pantomimic scene, that we mortals, whatever our business or amusement,--however serious, however trifling, --all dance to one identical tune, and, in spite of our ridiculous activity, bring nothing finally to pass. For the most remarkable aspect of the affair was, that, at the cessation of the music, everybody was petrified at once, from the most extravagant life into a dead torpor. Neither was the cobbler's shoe finished, nor the blacksmith's iron shaped out; nor was there a drop less of brandy in the toper's bottle, nor a drop more of milk in the milkmaid's pail, nor one additional coin in the miser's strong-box, nor was the scholar a page deeper in his book. All were precisely in the same condition as before they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise.

Message Edited by pmath on 12-22-200610:09 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Chapters X and XI: Futility

Anything about these two is depressing and odd; I still don't know Hepzibah's motivation for her slavish devotion. I do see Hawthorne narrating their social contact with each other as two marionettes playing in a weirdly out of date family story (the pantomine).
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Chapters X and XI: Hepzibah and Clifford

Thanks, Bob: I see what you mean! It's interesting how THotSG can be dark one moment and light the very next: NH was a genius.


fanuzzir wrote:
Anything about these two is depressing and odd; I still don't know Hepzibah's motivation for her slavish devotion. I do see Hawthorne narrating their social contact with each other as two marionettes playing in a weirdly out of date family story (the pantomine).

pmath wrote:
These passages are depressing! From Chapter X,

The second of Chanticleer's two wives, ever since Phoebe's arrival, had been in a state of heavy despondency, caused, as it afterwards appeared, by her inability to lay an egg. One day, however, by her self-important gait, the sideways turn of her head, and the **bleep** of her eye, as she pried into one and another nook of the garden,--croaking to herself, all the while, with inexpressible complacency,--it was made evident that this identical hen, much as mankind undervalued her, carried something about her person the worth of which was not to be estimated either in gold or precious stones. Shortly after, there was a prodigious cackling and gratulation of Chanticleer and all his family, including the wizened chicken, who appeared to understand the matter quite as well as did his sire, his mother, or his aunt. That afternoon Phoebe found a diminutive egg,--not in the regular nest, it was far too precious to be trusted there,--but cunningly hidden under the currant-bushes, on some dry stalks of last year's grass. Hepzibah, on learning the fact, took possession of the egg and appropriated it to Clifford's breakfast, on account of a certain delicacy of flavor, for which, as she affirmed, these eggs had always been famous. Thus unscrupulously did the old gentlewoman sacrifice the continuance, perhaps, of an ancient feathered race, with no better end than to supply her brother with a dainty that hardly filled the bowl of a tea-spoon!
and from Chapter XI,

Possibly some cynic, at once merry and bitter, had desired to signify, in this pantomimic scene, that we mortals, whatever our business or amusement,--however serious, however trifling, --all dance to one identical tune, and, in spite of our ridiculous activity, bring nothing finally to pass. For the most remarkable aspect of the affair was, that, at the cessation of the music, everybody was petrified at once, from the most extravagant life into a dead torpor. Neither was the cobbler's shoe finished, nor the blacksmith's iron shaped out; nor was there a drop less of brandy in the toper's bottle, nor a drop more of milk in the milkmaid's pail, nor one additional coin in the miser's strong-box, nor was the scholar a page deeper in his book. All were precisely in the same condition as before they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise.


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fanuzzir
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Re: Chapters X and XI: Hepzibah and Clifford

Possibly some cynic, at once merry and bitter, had desired to signify, in this pantomimic scene, that we mortals, whatever our business or amusement,--however serious, however trifling, --all dance to one identical tune, and, in spite of our ridiculous activity, bring nothing finally to pass. For the most remarkable aspect of the affair was, that, at the cessation of the music, everybody was petrified at once, from the most extravagant life into a dead torpor. Neither was the cobbler's shoe finished, nor the blacksmith's iron shaped out; nor was there a drop less of brandy in the toper's bottle, nor a drop more of milk in the milkmaid's pail, nor one additional coin in the miser's strong-box, nor was the scholar a page deeper in his book. All were precisely in the same condition as before they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise.

PMath, I've been looking more closely at this passage and it seems to be addressing something futile about modern American life--"bringing nothing to pass." I wonder what the pantomine here is referring to?
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Chapter XI: New v. Old World

[ Edited ]
Bob, perhaps NH is instead commenting on English, or European, life. He continues:
Saddest of all, moreover, the lover was none the happier for the maiden's granted kiss! But, rather than swallow this last too acrid ingredient, we reject the whole moral of the show.

fanuzzir wrote:
PMath, I've been looking more closely at this passage and it seems to be addressing something futile about modern American life--"bringing nothing to pass." I wonder what the pantomine here is referring to?

pmath wrote:
...and from Chapter XI,
Possibly some cynic, at once merry and bitter, had desired to signify, in this pantomimic scene, that we mortals, whatever our business or amusement,--however serious, however trifling, --all dance to one identical tune, and, in spite of our ridiculous activity, bring nothing finally to pass. For the most remarkable aspect of the affair was, that, at the cessation of the music, everybody was petrified at once, from the most extravagant life into a dead torpor. Neither was the cobbler's shoe finished, nor the blacksmith's iron shaped out; nor was there a drop less of brandy in the toper's bottle, nor a drop more of milk in the milkmaid's pail, nor one additional coin in the miser's strong-box, nor was the scholar a page deeper in his book. All were precisely in the same condition as before they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise.


Message Edited by pmath on 12-24-200610:45 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: Chapter XI: New v. Old World

"they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise."

These seem like code words to me for American culture at its most enterprising. Hawthorne clearly felt alientated form what his own English ancestry had spawned in America. The Pynchons are so far out of the American mainstream they may as well be English.

I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy this unsual novel.
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Choisya
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Re: Chapter XI: New v. Old World

It is perhaps significant that Hawthorne chose to invoke 'pantomime' in the phrase quoted previously by pmath because pantomime is a peculiarly English form of theatre which has been popular here for centuries and which contains a great deal of satire about everyday English life, despite being cloaked in children's stories.:-

http://www.hissboo.co.uk/pantomimes.shtml




fanuzzir wrote:
"they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise."

These seem like code words to me for American culture at its most enterprising. Hawthorne clearly felt alientated form what his own English ancestry had spawned in America. The Pynchons are so far out of the American mainstream they may as well be English.

I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy this unsual novel.


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Chapter XI: English Pantomime

Thanks for the link, Choisya, especially at this time of the year! I just finished my second reading of THotSG, Bob, and I'm already looking forward to a third.


Choisya wrote:
It is perhaps significant that Hawthorne chose to invoke 'pantomime' in the phrase quoted previously by pmath because pantomime is a peculiarly English form of theatre which has been popular here for centuries and which contains a great deal of satire about everyday English life, despite being cloaked in children's stories.:-

http://www.hissboo.co.uk/pantomimes.shtml

fanuzzir wrote:
"they made themselves so ridiculous by their haste to toil, to enjoy, to accumulate gold, and to become wise."

These seem like code words to me for American culture at its most enterprising. Hawthorne clearly felt alientated form what his own English ancestry had spawned in America. The Pynchons are so far out of the American mainstream they may as well be English.

I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy this unsual novel.

pmath wrote:
...from Chapter XI,
Possibly some cynic, at once merry and bitter, had desired to signify, in this pantomimic scene, that we mortals, whatever our business or amusement,--however serious, however trifling, --all dance to one identical tune, and, in spite of our ridiculous activity, bring nothing finally to pass.



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donyskiw
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Re: Chapters X and XI: Hepzibah and Clifford

I think you're onto something, Bob, when you say that Hawthorne saw something about the ridiculous pantomine of all the activity that got them nowhere and how that just became the seed for modern American life. For all of our multi-tasking and being efficient, are our lives anymore fulfilled as those in the panotmine?

Denise
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