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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.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The House of the Seven Gables!