In this essay I construct a psychoanalytically informed narrative of the life of the young daguerreotypist, Holgrave, which sets a foundation for interpreting the momentous transformation that he undergoes toward the romance's conclusion. The nature of this transformation and its centrality to the novel have not received adequate attention in the critical literature; in fact, they have often been misunderstood. This psychoanalytic reading seeks to remedy the deficiency. Holgrave comes to inhabit the House of the Seven Gables as its present-day Maule nemesis; the Maule curse is again realized in the apoplectic death of the hated Jaffrey Pyncheon. Contrary to all expectation, in the presence of the Judge's corpse, Holgrave is catapulted into a state of depression, alienation, and despair. Hitherto emotionally aloof, in the scene with Jaffrey Pyncheon's dead body, Holgrave takes his place as an active agent in the finale of the long-standing, destructive conflict between the Maules and the Pyncheons. In a narrative gap that the essay reconstructs, the tormented history of the House of the Seven Gables falls heavily on Holgrave's conscience and prompts an abrupt and painful loss of innocence for which love with Phoebe can uniquely compensate. The daguerreotypist's youthful radicalism is significantly modulated during his existential encounter with the unconscious and with death. Holgrave's transformation resonates within the moral, social, and spiritual dimensions of the romance's felicitous conclusion.

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