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The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thomas Maule

Character Analysis

Thomas Maule is Matthew Maule's son. Even though his father has been executed as a result of Colonel Pyncheon, Thomas Maule shows no sign of resentment. In fact, he willingly takes on the job of building the House of the Seven Gables and does such a good job that it continues to stand today.

The interesting thing about Thomas Maule is precisely this point that, "To all appearance, [the Maule family] were a quiet, honest, well-meaning race of people, cherishing no malice against individuals or the public" (1.32). In other words, the Maules show no open signs of hating the Pyncheons. But we know that the family does indeed hold a grudge.

Mr. Holgrave reveals that when Thomas Maule built the House of the Seven Gables, he included a secret opening behind the massive portrait of Colonel Pyncheon. There he hid the land deed to much of Maine that would have made the Pyncheon family rich beyond their wildest dreams. So Thomas Maule built the whole House of the Seven Gables as a way to steal Colonel Pyncheon's precious property. The Maule family is so proud of this revenge that they pass the secret right down to Mr. Holgrave, over 150 years after the fact.

So the Maules aren't forgive-and-forget turn-the-other-cheek Christians. Like the Pyncheons, they are able to hide their true feelings in public. Also like the Pyncheons, they have an enormous amount of family pride. The Maule family has been treated badly by society, but they certainly aren't perfect themselves – as the character of Matthew Maule II demonstrates.