Satire, horror novel, moral fable


Third-person omniscient

Point of view  

Mostly told by third-person narrator, who occasionally ventures inside the perspective of Clifford, Hepzibah, Holgrave, or Phoebe.


Varies between a straightforward narration of the facts and the narrator’s gloomy, often sarcastic take on a number of issues and characters. The narrator relies heavily on village gossip for the story and hesitates to identify most “facts” as true.


Immediate past

Setting (time)  


Setting (place)  

A town like those found in the county of Essex, Massachusetts.


Hepzibah Pyncheon, Phoebe Pyncheon, Clifford Pyncheon, Holgrave

Major conflict 

Judge Pyncheon tries to coerce Clifford into giving him information regarding their uncle’s missing inheritance. Since Judge Pyncheon embodies the dogged ambition and greed that has characterized the Pyncheon family, his persecution of Clifford and Hepzibah plays out in microcosm their battle against the entire Pyncheon legacy.

Rising action  

The Judge order Hepzibah to summon Clifford; Hepzibah fearfully goes to find Clifford


Judge Pyncheon dies of apoplexy before he can interrogate Clifford. The Judge’s death effectively ends the curse of the Pyncheons.

Falling action  

Clifford and Hepzibah flee the house; Holgrave and Phoebe find the Judge’s body; all the protagonists leave the house of the seven gables for good


The manner in which Judge Pyncheon is constantly compared to his ancestor Colonel Pyncheon foreshadows that the Judge will not be as pleasant as he seems, and hints at his death from apoplexy.