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Eloquent Reading of Hawthorne's Classic Reflections on the Book of Ecclesiastes,
This review is from: The House of the Seven Gables (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
"'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.'
What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever." -- Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 (NKJV)
Before commenting on the book, let me mention that I've always found it hard to get into. This time I listened to a reading by Donalda Peters and it made all the difference. Give it a try!
The Old Testament tells us that crimes can carry curses into future generations. Hawthorne examines that theme by having Colonel Pyncheon acquire the property of one Mathew Maule through Maule being found guilty of witchcraft in colonial Salem, Massachusetts. On the land was built the House of Seven Gables, and the consequences of the original action certainly seem to singe and tinge the current generation in a variety of ways. Rather than make this just a Biblical tale, Hawthorne beautifully investigates the questions of nature versus nurture in determining character and what choices are made.
Much of the story is told through the use of extended irony of the sort that's found in the book of Ecclesiastes. It's very well written and compelling.
Those who don't like dark stories should realize that there's a special beauty in certain kinds of darkness. And, too, weeping may endure for a night, but joy can come in the morning. Love can conquer quite a lot.
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