Disney Princess: Phoebe And "House Of Seven Gables

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The Disney Princess: Phoebe and “House of Seven Gables” In “House of Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Phoebe acts as the linchpin of the book. She and the reader learn much of the story at the same pace so Hawthorne in some respects asks us to relate to her. In addition she quickly enters the center of proceedings at the House and causes other characters to revolve their lives around her. In addition, she changes the House inside and out with her “housewife” skills and otherworldly characteristics with Hawthorne repeatedly comparing her to an angel. A superficial reading of her might cause one to think of her then as a complex character. However, a deeper look shows passivity, shallowness and importance relying mostly on outward characteristics. A student in class likened Phoebe to a ‘Disney Princess” and it gave a handy label to how I saw her. A princess in Disney movies commonly displays few traits besides good looks, a singing voice and a desire to change themselves for a man, not to mention commonly needing rescuing by said man. They often show an inordinate naivety about the world tending to land them in trouble. Despite princess status, they still make excellent housewives, as Snow White shows keeping house for many (male) dwarves. In short, they display the characteristics required by women before equal rights. Hawthorne attempts to imbue Phoebe with a higher purpose and morality but in the end only gives her characteristics displayed by these Disney princesses. Indeed despite Hawthorne telling us to laugh at and ridicule the ugly Hepzibah, she displays a far greater sense of good and a much more complex character than Phoebe. In Chapter 9, we see a deep love of Hepzibah for her brother Clifford and a willingness to care for and show him devotion. However, when she tries to read his favorite stories he rebuffs her because of her looks and
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