Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables continuously plays with the idea of narrative authority to explore concepts of class and power within the novel. Since these concepts of class and power are also a central focus of Subaltern Studies, applying some of this body of scholarship to the novel brings into focus these concepts and sheds light on the motivations and types of resistance in the novel. The upper class characters, including the Pyncheons, construct and maintain a narrative based on the declarations of professionals and officials of the state and church. It discusses only the most noble characteristics and events of the upper classes and relies solely on rational, empirical thought. They create this narrative to maintain their authority and dominance. The lower classes, including the Maules, construct an alternate narrative to resist the upper class that is collected and passed down through rumor. Supernatural elements like ghosts and curses figure prominently in this narrative. It is only when the Pyncheon and Maule families begin to listen to and validate multiple narratives that class and power become less important and the reconciliation between families happens.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Horne, Marie E., "Ancient Superstitions Steeped in the Human Heart: Rumors of the Supernatural as Resistance Narrative in The House of the Seven Gables" (2009). All Theses and Dissertations. 2303.
Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables, class, narrative, subaltern studies, resistance, rumor, supernatural