‘To inherit a great fortune. To inherit a great misfortune.’ These words, from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s notebook, neatly encapsulate the theme of The House of the Seven Gables – that of a family whose fortunes are poisoned by its past misdeeds. The sins of the Pyncheon father are visited upon his children over a period of several generations, until such time as one of his descendants unites with a member of the family he has wronged. Love conquers hate, and new blood washes away the original crime. This intriguing and insightful novel truly deserves its significant place in the canon of American literature.
THE SCARLET LETTER
The Scarlet Letter is one of the great classics of American literature. Set in the harsh Puritan environment of 17th-century Boston, it describes the plight of Hester Prynne, an independent-minded woman who stands alone against society. Having given birth to a child after an illicit affair, she refuses to name the father and is forced to wear the letter ‘A’, for Adulteress, embroidered on her dress