You can tell that a book is going to include justice and judgment as a major theme when one of the main characters is, in fact, a judge. There's an important conflict in The House of the Seven Gablesbetween public judgment and real justice. Hawthorne criticizes the state institutions of Massachusetts, in which men can gain lots of power and be widely respected despite their bad character. Men like Colonel Pyncheon and Judge Pyncheon are both allowed to flourish because they are energetic and they get things done. No one really seems to care that they are bullying or greedy, as long as they keep bringing in cash and donating money to the right causes. It's only through the perceptive, careful research of artists like Mr. Holgrave that we get the truth that lies behind the respectable public faces of these characters. Hepzibah Pyncheon is different from her cousin Judge Pyncheon in almost every way except forone: she takes huge (and arguably unwarranted) personal pride in her family. Hepzibah seems to believe that she is an aristocrat surrounded by lower-class people. The narrator points out that not only does Hepzibah have nothing much to be proud of in being a Pyncheon, but the whole idea of "gentlemen" and "ladies" belongs to an aristocratic class system that should have died out with the American Revolution.