The House of the Seven Gables: Novel Summary: Chapter 19

Summary: Uncle Venner ventures out into the neighborhood the morning after the storm and makes his way to the House of the Seven Gables to collect leftovers from the evening meal to feed his pig, as is his custom. He is surprised when no one responds to his knocking at the door. Holgrave, occupying his room upstairs, leans out the window to tell Venner that no one is at home. Venner remarks that Alices Posies, the clump of flowers on the Houses roof, seem to be blooming more beautifully than before, and that the House in general seems a good deal cheerier than usual. Throughout the morning, a number of people come to the House after Venner, trying to do business at Hepzibahs cent-shop. Each one is frustrated by the lack of response. At length, Phoebe arrives, having returned from saying her proper good-byes to her family in the country. She, too, is surprised to find no welcome. She knocks at the door, finds it opened, and enters, but no sooner has she crossed the threshold than the door shuts behind her.
Analysis: Hawthorne continues to manipulate readers suspicions by revealing that Holgrave is in the House, alone. He claims to Venner that no one else is at home. Is he mistaken or lying? Readers do not know. He also increases suspense by having Phoebe, whom he clearly intends to be the most sympathetic character in the book, return to the House at this juncture. Readers lack of knowledge of the true situation mirrors Phoebes own, and they almost want to call out with young Ned Higgins, “Dont you go in!” He capitalizes on this suspense by ending the chapter as he does, with the door closing shut ominously behind her.