The House of the Seven Gables
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Character Role Analysis
Hepzibah's quest throughout the novel is to find a place where she and her brother can live without fear. She achieves this by the end of the book, although she doesn't have much of a direct hand in doing it. We have a lot of sympathy for Hepzibah. After all, she has devoted herself to Clifford, despite the fact that he can't bear the sight of her face. Hepzibah's struggles seem much more human than those of perfect Phoebe.
After 30 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit, Clifford Pyncheon is looking for freedom and safety. Like Hepzibah, he gets it, though not through any action of his own. We can't help feeling really bad for this guy, a monument to ruined intellectual promise and destroyed hopes. At least by the end of the book, he gets a splendid country estate to retire to with his dear Phoebe, Hepzibah, and Uncle Venner.
Phoebe is the romantic heroine of the novel. She arrives at a dark place, the House of the Seven Gables, and works patiently to make it better. She is tireless in assisting her elderly relatives. Over the course of the novel, Phoebe grows from a cheerful child into a lovely, thoughtful young woman. And as she realizes that she has become an adult, there is a handsome young man, Mr. Holgrave, waiting in the wings to sweep her off her feet.