The House of the Seven Gables

by: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Holgrave

Though only twenty-two, Holgrave is the product of passion, hard work, and travel. He is a man of great integrity, as we learn when he does not take advantage of the hypnotized Phoebe and when he supports and comforts the despondent Hepzibah. Although Hepzibah views Holgrave’s friends as disreputable, the young man’s politics come across as boldly exciting, rich with vitality and possibility. Holgrave is not without a dark side and foibles, and the familiar Maule bitterness toward the Pyncheon family infects him as well. This sense of bitterness and rancor shows how Holgrave continues the Maule legacy of revenge and faulty judgment. His politics, once so inspiring, end up seeming rather flimsy; they crumble almost overnight once he has won Phoebe’s love and seen the Judge dead. Moreover, he has a tendency to underestimate others, brashly assuming that he can read Phoebe like a book. Overall, though, Holgrave emerges as a sympathetic figure, and his decision not to abuse his family powers of hypnosis helps to diminish some of the family stigma he bears.