The House of the Seven Gables | Study Guide

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The House of the Seven Gables | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Approx. 1700

    Colonel Pyncheon secures Matthew Maule's land and builds a house; he dies after being cursed.

    Chapter 1
  • One day in 1850

    In a desperate financial situation, Hepzibah opens a shop, which causes her much shame.

    Chapter 3
  • Later that afternoon

    Hepzibah's cousin, Phoebe, comes to stay with her.

    Chapter 4
  • Two weeks later

    Clifford returns home after 30 years in jail; he is disoriented.

    Chapter 7
  • Days later

    Judge Pyncheon comes to the shop to see Clifford, but Hepzibah refuses to let him in.

    Chapter 8
  • Days later

    Hepzibah, Clifford, and Phoebe establish a routine, with Phoebe proving herself indispensable.

    Chapter 9
  • Few weeks later

    Holgrave shares his history with Phoebe and tells her the story of Alice Pyncheon.

    Chapter 13
  • Two days later

    Phoebe leaves the House of the Seven Gables with the intention of returning shortly.

    Chapter 14
  • Five days later

    Judge Pyncheon blackmails Hepzibah to see Clifford.

    Chapter 15
  • Little while later

    Hepzibah finds Judge Pyncheon dead, and Clifford seems happy.

    Chapter 16
  • Same afternoon

    Hepzibah and Clifford leave the house and board a train.

    Chapter 17
  • Two days later

    Phoebe returns and is told the news by Holgrave, who declares his love for her.

    Chapter 20
  • Moments later

    Hepzibah and Clifford return to the house.

    Chapter 20
  • Couple of days later

    Holgrave admits he is a Maule and reveals the location of the deed for the land in Maine.

    Chapter 20
  • Same day

    Judge Pyncheon's son has died, so the judge's money goes to Clifford, Hepzibah, and Phoebe.

    Chapter 20
  • Few days later

    Hepzibah, Clifford, Phoebe, Holgrave, and Uncle Venner move to Judge Pyncheon's country estate.

    Chapter 21

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface Nathaniel Hawthorne notes that The House of the Seven Gables is a romance, not a novel. A novel "must rigidly subject it... Read More
Chapter 1 An unnamed narrator begins telling the backstory of the Pyncheon family and their house known as the House of the Seven ... Read More
Chapter 2 Chapter 2 introduces Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon. Hepzibah is an old spinster who lives in the house alone save for a lodger,... Read More
Chapter 3 Hepzibah Pyncheon opens her shop, and her first customer is her tenant, Holgrave, a 22-year-old daguerreotypist. While h... Read More
Chapter 4 As the afternoon of her first day in the store approaches, Hepzibah Pyncheon sees an "elderly gentleman, large and portl... Read More
Chapter 5 Phoebe Pyncheon awakens the next morning and prays. She then begins rearranging the room, making it more cheerful and pl... Read More
Chapter 6 Phoebe Pyncheon enters the garden, which includes a run-down summer house. The rich soil had become so from the "leaves,... Read More
Chapter 7 Phoebe Pyncheon awakens and goes to the kitchen where she finds Hepzibah Pyncheon studying a cookbook and readying break... Read More
Chapter 8 As Phoebe Pyncheon enters the shop, Ned Higgins, the little boy who has been buying sweets in the past, is there again. ... Read More
Chapter 9 Hepzibah Pyncheon is devoted to her brother and ready to do anything to make him happy and comfortable. Her efforts towa... Read More
Chapter 10 Phoebe and Clifford Pyncheon spend afternoons in the garden. Holgrave and Uncle Venner repair the roof of the summer hou... Read More
Chapter 11 Periodically, Phoebe and Clifford sit and look out an arched window facing the street. Clifford Pyncheon is curious abou... Read More
Chapter 12 Clifford Pyncheon tires easily and goes to bed at dusk. This leaves Phoebe Pyncheon with free time, which she uses to ge... Read More
Chapter 13 Gervayse Pyncheon, grandson of Colonel Pyncheon, calls upon Mathew Maule (the younger), grandson of the original Matthew... Read More
Chapter 14 Holgrave, who told the story in a dramatic fashion, finds Phoebe Pyncheon half-asleep. His movements mesmerized Phoebe, ... Read More
Chapter 15 With Phoebe Pyncheon's departure and a lingering storm, the House of the Seven Gables is more depressing than ever. The ... Read More
Chapter 16 This chapter continues right after the previous one left off, as Hepzibah Pyncheon goes to Clifford Pyncheon's chamber i... Read More
Chapter 17 With Clifford and Hepzibah Pyncheon outside the House of the Seven Gables, Clifford becomes very excited. Hepzibah feels... Read More
Chapter 18 Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon remains in the chair where Clifford and Hepzibah Pyncheon left him. His eyes are open, and he is ... Read More
Chapter 19 Uncle Venner is the first person to stir on Pyncheon Street the morning after the storm. It is the morning of a beautifu... Read More
Chapter 20 Phoebe Pyncheon does not know who brought her into the house. The hand applied a "gentle and warm pressure ... which cau... Read More
Chapter 21 Within a couple of weeks, people are no longer interested in Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon. It is theorized that the death of U... Read More
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