The House of the Seven Gables

by

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Alice Pyncheon Character Analysis

Alice is a daughter of Gervayse Pyncheon and a descendant of the Colonel. She spends part of her girlhood in Europe and loves to play the harpsichord. Matthew Maule (the carpenter) hypnotizes Alice when Gervayse is seeking the old Pyncheon deed, and Alice remains disgraced and under Matthew’s power for the rest of her life. Alice’s ghost is said to haunt the House of the Seven Gables, playing the harpsichord. After the family curse is broken, she is said to escape to heaven.

Alice Pyncheon Quotes in The House of the Seven Gables

The The House of the Seven Gables quotes below are all either spoken by Alice Pyncheon or refer to Alice Pyncheon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of The House of the Seven Gables published in 1999.
Chapter 13 Quotes

But, alas for the beautiful, the gentle, yet too haughty Alice! A power that she little dreamed of had laid its grasp upon her maiden soul. A will, most unlike her own, constrained her do its grotesque and fantastic bidding. Her father, as it proved, had martyred his poor child to an inordinate desire for measuring his land by miles instead of acres. And, therefore, while Alice Pyncheon lived, she was Maule's slave, in a bondage more humiliating, a thousandfold, than that which binds its chain around the body. Seated by his humble fireside, Maule had but to wave his hand; and, wherever the proud lady chanced to be—whether in her chamber, or entertaining her father’s stately guests, or worshipping at church—whatever her place of occupation, her spirit passed from beneath her own control, and bowed itself to Maule.

Related Symbols: House
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:
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Alice Pyncheon Character Timeline in The House of the Seven Gables

The timeline below shows where the character Alice Pyncheon appears in The House of the Seven Gables. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Old Pyncheon Family
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Progress Theme Icon
...in a nook between two of the gables, flower shrubs are growing. These are called Alice’s Posies because Alice Pyncheon, long dead, is said to have tossed seeds onto the roof,... (full context)
Chapter 5: May and November
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...Pyncheon’s portrait and the map of the fabled territory in Maine. She telling Phoebe about Alice Pyncheon, who died under mysterious circumstances and is now said to haunt the house, sometimes... (full context)
Chapter 13: Alice Pyncheon
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Progress Theme Icon
...remains. He agrees to come to the House and passes along his greetings to young Alice Pyncheon, recently returned from Italy. (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Time, Change, and Progress Theme Icon
When the carpenter is admitted, he hears a sad melody: Alice Pyncheon is playing the harpsichord. Scipio ushers Maule into Gervayse Pyncheon’s parlor. The room is... (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...if Gervayse wishes to recover the lost document, he must allow Maule to talk with Alice. Gervayse is appalled and baffled at Maule’s motives, but somehow, Maule persuades him to summon... (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
With confusion, Gervayse Pyncheon explains that Maule the carpenter has some business with Alice,  because Alice’s help is supposedly required in recovering the important document. He promises he will... (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...doesn’t turn. Finally, the carpenter says, “Behold your daughter!” Pyncheon sees Maule pointing triumphantly at Alice, who sits as if asleep. When Pyncheon calls her name in terror, even kisses and... (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
Maule the carpenter then beckons to Alice, and she rises and moves toward him. Maule triumphantly declares that she is now his.... (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...and Maule the carpenter jeers about the old curse. He leaves, but he promises that Alice, upon waking, will have reason to remember him. Indeed, it turns out that Alice has... (full context)
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Wealth, Power, and Status Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
Some time later, Alice goes to a bridal party—the daughter of a laborer, whom Maule the carpenter is about... (full context)
Chapter 14: Phoebe’s Good-by
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...chose, he could attain mastery over Phoebe’s spirit much as Maule the carpenter did over Alice’s. But he forbids himself this temptation, waking her with a slight gesture and joking about... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Scowl and Smile
Time, Change, and Progress Theme Icon
Later that morning, however, Hepzibah hears brief music coming from Alice Pyncheon’s harpsichord—Clifford had practiced the instrument in his youth. The notes are cut short by... (full context)
Chapter 19: Alice’s Posies
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...crimson flowers blooming in the crevice between two of the front gables. These are called Alice’s Posies, having grown from seeds Alice had brought from Italy and tossed skyward. Their blooming... (full context)
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...tells Holgrave that the back of the house has a lonely look, in contrast to Alice’s Posies in the front. Holgrave mentions that last night’s stormy winds might have convinced him... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Flower of Eden
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...Clifford smiles at them. He thought of both of them, he says, when he noticed Alice’s Posies blooming on the roof—like “the flower of Eden” which blooms in the House now. (full context)
Chapter 21: The Departure
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
Horror and Innocence Theme Icon
...been a “pretty good business!” As Uncle Venner walks off, he imagines that he hears Alice Pyncheon playing the harpsichord one last time before floating to heaven. (full context)