I have read and re read this many times the act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must produce good or evil fruit in a far distant time Thus speaks Hawthorne in the course of his book and to a large extent this summarises the theme and plot of the storyThe book is a natural progression from his previous work The Scarlet Letter almost an updated by 150 200 ears seuel to it Hawthorne began it a mere 6 months after the publication of The Scarlet Letter Here he shows what happens as the seeds of the Salem type of puritanism germinate throughout the generations in this case through the Pyncheon family lineMy relationship with this book goes back a very long way I bought it as a boy in a village jumble sale do they have such things any determined to read it Not surprisingly I struggled but with the aid of a dictionary and taking it slowly I managed to read it through I ve been hooked on it ever since returning to it often and to my beloved Nathaniel HawthorneAs a boy I could identify with the characters who people the book and especially the reclusive Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon She was for me my widowed grandmother with whom I spent a great deal of time Like Hepzibah she had virtually retired from the world in her case on the early death of my grandfather She rarely went out of doors Her arthritis which had painfully and cruelly deformed her limbs would have made this difficult anyway Like Hepzibah too she could scowl But as in the case of the former this was freuently misinterpreted Both women were short sighted and lovely with it My grandmother s house too whilst lacking the dimensions of Hepzibah s had been the family home for 3 or 4 generations There was a shop attached to it too where my father plied his trade the same as his father grandfather and great grandfather before him The idea of my grandmother crossing its threshold as Hepzibah did in order to eke out a living selling a few sweets filled me with horror not for snobbish reasons after all we were a family of shopkeepers but my grandmother was painfully shyAt the risk of over egging the pudding no pun intended my grandmother had a large garden somewhat neglected like Hepzibah s and here my father kept a few chickens The book is altogether very personal for me and I have returned to it almost my childhood home many times I sense it is very autobiographical for Hawthorne too who as a For Fear of Little Men young man adolescent shut himself up in his room for someears possibly with a guilty secret Hawthorne is uite particular in labelling this book a romance rather than a novel and this gives him lee way for his mirage style of story telling so we re never uite sure whether what he tells us is sheer fantasy fact or a mixture of both This romance is about sunshine and shadow sadness and joy laughter and tears age and the future The book will also focus on double standards and false values and justice which Hawthorne is expert in examiningHere s a taster or two Stay a moment if Twig the Fairy and the Goblin Masquerade (Twig the Fairy you please Said the Judge again beaming sunshine out of his face But appearances can be deceptive as a page or so later his expression has momentarily changed To know Judge Pyncheon was to see him at that moment After such a revelation let him smile with what sultriness he would he could much sooner turn grapes purple or pumpkinsellow than melt the iron branded impression out of the beholder s memory Hepzibah s brother Clifford to his sister We are ghosts We have no right amongst human beings no right anywhere but in this old house which has a curse on it and which therefore we are doomed to hauntIt is an ugly thought that I should be frightful to my fellow beings and that children would cling to their mother s gowns at sight of me I spoke of sunshine and shadow Here as the book nears its close an old character much loved by the Pyncheons who spoke often of retiring to his farm the work house says But I suppose I am like a Roxbury Russet a great deal the better the longer I can be kept I guess this is much too personal to be an objective review but what the Hell I love this book 4 stars for first read 35 for secondIn late September I toured the House of the Seven Gables in Salem Massachusetts Our guide a knowledgeable and entertainingly wry oung man spoke of two additions made to the house after the woman who bought it decided to turn it into a tourist attraction a room to emulate Hepzibah s little shop and a secret stairway not mentioned in the text that Clifford must ve used to be able to suddenly appear the way he does The latter intrigued me since I didn t remember anything along those lines so I decided upon a rereadAs I got further into it I realized only the beginning seemed familiar and I started to wonder if perhaps I hadn t finished the book that first time though that didn t seem right either Perhaps it s just that the beginning with its legend of the Pyncheons and the Maules and then its description of poor Hepzibah setting up shop are still the most "memorable scenes The middle is a lengthy setting the stage for a rather anticlimactic denouement completed with perfunctory explanations "scenes The middle is a lengthy setting the stage for a rather anticlimactic denouement completed with perfunctory explanations of which is apparently known of due to mesmerism I understand why I remember liking it the first time I read it as at times I felt that same frisson of gothic ness I felt while reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle Our guide had mentioned he d read the book numerous times adding in a hushed tone that it wasn t all that great apologizing when I told him I d read it I think I also reread this to prove him wrong but I m unable to do think I also reread this to prove him wrong but I m unable to do The main feeling I ve come away with that Hawthorne struggled with inherited guilt due to the actions of his ancestor a hanging judge presiding over the witch trials is what I discerned in that brilliant beginning And what of Clifford s mysterious appearances There s really only one but it is an important one and a bit later there s the mention of another relative having had secret access to their uncle s room Curiosity satisfiedAs I read my old paperback copy the edges of both the front and back covers shed pieces My 1985 edition has a picture of the house on the front that cover seems to have been removed from Goodreads though it was here not too long ago Last night as I settled in to finish the back cover fell completely off the spine And if I count in a certain way the spaces left behind from the triangles that fell from the front cover they number seven ETA A VERY SHORT REVIEWFirst the book was difficult because of dense language Then the language lightened up and I could enjoy parts At the end it went rapidly downhill being slapstick in style I could have saved myself a lot of time and just written this as my review Halfway down a by street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house with seven acutely peaked gables facing towards various points of the compass and a huge clustered chimney in the midst Here is the house Hawthorne is speaking of is The House of Seven Gables It exists still today in Salem Massachusetts built in 1668 by sea captain and merchant John Turner Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804 1864 lived in Salem His cousin Susanna Ingersoll was at this time the house s owner and Hawthorne visited her there Hawthorne has imagined a fictional family the Pyncheons He has drawn a gothic story about them their lives and this house In the tale Colonel Pyncheon has the house built by carpenter Matthew Maule A legal dispute arises deeds are lost thereafter follow gruesome deaths and talk of the supernatural Who has the right to live there This information sets the stage Only thereafter does the story really begin two centuries later in the 1850sWe meet five Pyncheon descendants Hepzibah Phoebe Clifford Venner and Judge Jaffrey as well as Holgrave the daguerrotypist and Ned Higgins a child fond of gingerbread cookies Through flashbacks we learn about the interim ears and come to meet Alice and Gervayse Pyncheon as well as the grandson of Matthew MauleThe introductory section the first six chapters does not live and breathe we are being told of previous events The chapters serve as the background to the story that is to unfold the story set in the 1850s The author is our narrator he interrupts explains and voices his opinion on events He is philosophical he has a message to deliver He is longwinded The views expressed are at times difficult to get through perplexing abstruse wordy and overblown As the story picks up speed humor dialogs and lines of lyrical beauty make the prose lighter and easier to absorb Here follow three examples of lines I like and I love to watch how the day tired as it is lags away reluctantly and hates to be called Jelena '93 yesterday so soon the summer eve might be fancied as sprinkling dews and liuid moonlight which contrasts with the clamor of the wind through the lonely house Hawthorne has a knack for creating the feeling of a place of the pervading atmosphere Humor revolves around the family s chickens and that child in love with gingerbread cookies I even found myself enjoying some of the shorter lines of philosophical bent A man s bewilderment is a measure of his wisdom Life is made up of marble and mud Nothing gives a sadder sense of decay than this loss or suspension of the power to deal with unaccustomed things and to keep up with the swiftness of the passing moment Ambition is a powerful talisman than witchcraft Very much a Gothic novel a sense of gloom and disaster begins to permeate the tone of the novel A sense of impending doom builds a doom tied to the relentless manner by which the wrongdoings of one generation inexorably shape the doings of the next It is this that is scary In Hawthorne s words The past is but a coarse and sensual prophecy of the present and the future What slaves we are to bygone times He asks Shall we never get rid of the past Then he remonstrates We are not doomed to creep on in the old ways Clearly Hawthorne is saying we must break free from the past The uestion is if the characters will have. The sins of one generation are visited upon another in a haunted New England mansion until the arrival of aoung woman from the coun. The strength to do this It is this that the book asksMany state that it is difficult to read Hawthorne s prose In parts it is wordy but not in all It is for this reason I have included uotes They are my proof I grew to like the prose style when it lightens up a bit once the story picks up after the tedious start But then came the ending which I absolutely detested It destroyed everything for me So damn gimmicky so clash bang boom I d have to admit that many Gothic novels do end in such a manner but I was mistakenly thinking wow here is a great Gothic novel that exhibits discernment and intelligence Dear Hawthorne it is not always necessary to end with a splash view spoilerWhere the deed was hidden and that silly spring on the portrait and the need to clear Clifford s name and the rush to solve everything in a jiffy to smack on a sweet and tidy ending all of this hide spoiler A clueless group here in goodreadscom made this this its book of the month read under the Horror genre when there is no horror in it The author called it instead a Romance but there is no romance in it either except a brief declaration of love for each other of two protagonists towards the end with all its unmistakable phoniness How can New Heights The Beginning After The End you love a simple girl like me Duh all men profess to love simple girlsThis is actually a sex book written under the atmosphere of sexual repression during the mid 19th centuryThere is this big old house with seven gables of course which has a dark past that can be traced back to a hundred or soears Displayed inside is a portrait of the house s builder and original owner Colonel Pyncheon Its present occupants are a brother and a sister both Pyncheons too descendants of the Colonel both decrepit and poor The brother Clifford had apparently lost his marbles and acts at times like a childThey have a border occupying one of the house s seven gables a How to Restore Your Bmw Motorcycle Twins 1950-1969 young good looking artist Later comes for a visit and she eventually became a occupant another Pyncheon a cousin of the brother and sister She soung and pretty And what would a story be without a villain So we have Judge Pyncheon another cousin rich powerful and a look alike of Colonel Pyncheon in the portrait and said to be as evil as the originalEverything needed for gothic sex is here a big old gloomy housewhich in the dictionary can mean a brothel reminiscent of the castle in Maruis de Sade s 120 Days of Sodom an unattractive sex starved character the sister a spinster with a permanent scowl on her face and with a sado masochistic name Hepzibah one with an infantile taste for sex the brother named Clifford off in the head the stud the artistborder Holgrave a permanent fixture in all porn films a nubile object of delectation and ready for corruption the Faerie young lady from the country who first came for a visit and with the eually nubile name Phoebe and a villain Judge PyncheonThe first sex scene symbolically only remember this was in the 19th century when the Philippines was still firmly under Spanish rule is where Hepzibah opened up her small store to earn her upkeep like she is opening her legs for the first time in her life after she is forced to earn money by prostitution Her first customer is the studartist He asks her if he can assist her any further in her preparation When Hepzibah saw theoung man s smile looking so much the brighter on a thoughtful face and heard his kindly tone she broke first into a hysteric giggle and then began to sob Ah Mr Holgrave cried she as soon as she could speak I never can go through with it Never never never I wish I were dead and in the old family tomb with all my forefathers With my father and my mother and my sister Yes and with my brother who had far better find me there than here The world is too chill and hard and I am too old and too feeble and too hopeless The stud Holgrave however gives her words of encouragement Oh believe me Miss Hepzibah these feelings will not trouble The Same and Not the Same you any longer afterou are once fairly in the midst of Goodbye Soldier War Biography your enterprise They are unavoidable at this moment standing asou do on the outer verge of Cinnamon and Elephants: Sri Lanka and the Netherlands from 1600 (Rijksmuseum country series) your long seclusion and peopling the world with ugly shapes whichou will soon find to be as unreal as the giants and ogres of a child s storybook I find nothing so singular in life as that everything appears to lose its substance the instant one actually grapples with it So it will be with what ou think so terrible The exchange then continues But I am a woman said Hepzibah piteously I was going to say a lady but I consider that as past Well no matter if it be past answered the artist a strange gleam of half hidden sarcasm flashing through the kindliness of his manner Let it go You are the better without it For Clifford the retard nothing is beautiful than Phoebe He took unfailing note of every charm that appertained to her sex and saw the ripeness of her lips and the virginal development "of her bosomBut since he is such a child all he do is to touch her "her bosomBut since he is such a child all he can do to touch her and smell it His feeling for flowers was very exuisite and seemed not so much a taste as an emotion he was fond of sitting with one in his hand intently observing it and looking from its petals into Phoebe s face as if the garden flower were the sister of the household maiden Not merely was there a delight in the flower s perfume or pleasure in its beautiful form and the delicacy or brightness of his hueWith Phoebe by his side his little weapon comes alive now
With The Lesson Thoroughly Bythe lesson thoroughly by he could with difficulty comprehend his little airy happiness Freuently there was a dim shadow of doubt in his eyes Take my hand Phoebe he would say and pinch it hard with our little fingers Give me a rose that I may press it thorns and prove myself awake by the sharp touch of pain Evidently he desired this PRICK of a trifling anguishWhat about the villain Judge Pyncheon Here he is compared with the long dead Colonel Pyncheon and the clear implication is that both were as debauch and cruel as any of Maruis de Sade s sick heroesThe Puritan Colonel Pyncheon again an autocrat in his own household had worn out three wives and merely by remorseless weight and hardness of his character in the conjugal relation had sent them one after another brokenhearted to their graves The Judge had wedded but a single wife and lost her in the third or fourth ear of their marriage There was a fable however for such we choose to consider it though not impossibly typical of Judge Pynchon s marital deportment that the lady got her death blow in the honeymoon and never smiled again because her husband compelled her to serve him with coffee every morning at his bedside in token of fealty to her liege lord and masterWhat is this what is this serving him WITH coffee every morning at his bedside like he was her liege lord and master and which was so gross as to be the euivalent of a DEATH BLOW My lascivious readers our guess is absolutely correct What could be debasing than forcing The Lady of Larkspur Lotion your wife to giveou a blowjob in the morning while she drinks her coffee This narrative published in 1850 starts with a preface by Hawthone explaining his concept of the Romance which is to be distinguished from the Novel because it provides the writer with greater latitude to takes risks The Novel is somehow straightforward conservative less flexible as a vehicle for experimentationThe first chapter gives us the backstory in a kind of lump sum Most contemporary novelists probably write such a backstory but often cut it since lacking action and character it can seem too schematic and impersonal Hawthorne s backstory is perhaps no exception But it has the virtue of being 160 ears old and that combined with its antiuated vocabulary deftly wielded combines to hook the reader The backstory spills all the beans of this fantastic narrative including the heinous crime the resulting curse the astonishing event at the housewarming and the collective guilt that is said to course through each suceeding generation of the Pyncheon familyWhen we reach the action of the present day it s a particularly low moment in the Pyncheon family s fortunes Hepzibah the permanently scowling seemingly sole survivor of the line is forced to open what was at the time known as a cent shop in a corner of the grand though decaying house There s nerve wracking suspense here Hawthorne seems to wring it from every word His mode of storytelling is simultaneously achingly and beautifully slow There s one scene for example in which he lingers over a simple breakfast Each item seems lovingly revealed there s a sumptuousness to the language that seems to belie the meal s simplicity The gaze throughout smacks of the voyeuristic as if the dead who are no longer permitted such pleasures were narratingThe narrative is marked by a number of oppositions in terms of imagery gloom and sunshine animal and spiritual age and outh ugliness and beauty exhaustion and vitality Clifford embodies many of these He is put forth as the spoiled and decadent figure and symbol of the family s fortunes He is obviously homosexual something Hawthorne working in the era he did could only vaguely touch upon Yet in the end he is mindful enough to turn this clich on its head For Clifford it turns out is not the symbol of the decaying family but an individual just one from whose shoulders at the end of the book all unfair connotation seems justly liftedClifford has an artist s sensibility without the artistry He is a dilettante The Daguerrotypist who lives beneath one of the House s gables is referred to as the artist The contrast is intentional The fellow with the so called artistic sensibilities is not an artist at all but one who makes his living from a simple mechanical process Clifford by contrast lives for beauty It infuses his every happy moment Without it he is corpse like almost inert I actually enjoyed this one Nathaniel Hawthorne has a uniue way of writing and I think it he s hit or miss For instance I didn t care for The Scarlett Letter but I reall. Try breathes new air into mouldering lives and rooms Written shortly after The Scarlet Letter The House of the Seven Gables re addres. ,
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Y liked Young Goodman Brown This story explored themes of guilt and generational sin I felt all the characters had connectedness et they were all trying to either run away from each other and their past sinsguiltI enjoyed the darker gothic tone of the story The dark and shadowy house played a major role and even acted as a characterSeveral days had passed over the seven gables heavily and drearily enough In fact an easterly storm had set in and indefatigably applied itself to the task of making the black roof and walls of the old house look cheerless than ever before pg 192The backstory of Salem witchcraft a curse and the mysterious deaths gave subtle elements of the supernatural The descriptive imagery helped carry the storythe uiver of the moonbeams they dance hand in hand with the shadows pg 241Overall in enjoyed this story The reading sometimes was tedious and slow but helped with the overall story I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good story Thanks This is the worst book ever written in the English language that is somehow celebrated against far superior novels from the same era somehow earning him enough respect to have his crusty face emblazoned onto the Library of CongressIf the story were to take place in modern day Atlanta it would be about some inbred old money steel magnolia losing her shit up in Buckhead and dragging her family down with her while she suanders what little remains of their inheritance on palm readers and telemarketers Throw in the distant trailer trash relative from Woodstock a bum selling Cutco knives the Gulf War Syndrome addled veteran brother and Wayne Mason Besides waiting for people to stop talking and describing things the rest of the plot centers around walking around the house and hearing the characters complain about their lack of money and prestigeYou take that story rewind it about 175 ears add some baroue embellishment to every sentence Blood Magic Divided Realms you write using the exclamation mark liberally andou ve got THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLESI always imagine Nathaniel Hawthorne as being the trust fund baby of his time Having bored himself on sherry and biscuits How exhausting decides to forgo taking care of his plants and retire to his study to pen a novel for us He s like the writer of today who leaves his meditation room hops in his Mercedes Benz to the nearest Applebee s and scrawls another Zen and business book on a cocktail napkin turning 50 pages of bullshit into 198 in 14 point San Serif font that every pink bubble faced middle manager is going to have on their office shelf by the end of the week Nathaniel Hawthorne was that guy in his dayWhy does he get praise for this crap I think saying that there are dark psychological themes throughout is a nice way of saying having read this I couldn t decide if I should use the hose to pipe carbon monoxide into my house or to hang myself oh bother there s another page The only interpretation I have is that his contemporaries just wanted to be nice to him and gentleman like encouraging him every now and then but for the most part trying to ignore him in the hopes he d find a different hobby to harp about Fast forward and everyone s like Damn he must be good and for lack of imagination or god forbid actually reading the damn book to see if it s any good it s going to appear on every high school student s summer reading list until the end of times Note March 17 2018 I edited this again slightly just to change the formatting of a long uotationNote May 14 2016 I edited this review just now to make a slight factual correctionDuring the Salem witch hysteria of 1692 when real life accused witch Sarah Good was about to hanged she pointed at one of the witch hunters Rev Nathaniel Noyes who was looking on approvingly and shouted I m no a witch than Hooking Him you are and ifou murder me God will give Training the Trainer you blood to drink an allusion to Revelation 166 Years later Noyes suffered a throat aneurism and did die literally drinking his own blood a fact that wasn t lost on the keepers of New England s traditionsNathaniel Hawthorne was born and raised in Salem and lived there much of his adult life a descendant of the Judge Hathorne who was one of the judges in the witch trials and the only one who nev The illustrious Pyncheon family had uite a useful reign but that was long ago its founder ColPyncheon a stout merciless Puritan and able soldier helped wipe out the scourge the evil threat of the abominable witches in the honorable Salem trials of 1692 For his just reward he happened by pure accident to take over the property of old Matthew Maule Still a splendid beautiful area the perfect place to set his building the magnificent Seven Gablesthe Colonel s new mansion for his noble effortsThe wicked Wizard Maule met his proper end at Gallows Hill Things do not stay the same unfortunately the family and House of the Seven Gables have seen better days In fact truthfully at one time few would argue against it being ranked among the best edifices in colonial Massachusetts That was than 150ears ago this building shall we reiterate is a little run down a dump in reality Hepzibah Pyncheon an old maid with nevertheless a wonderful name is now all alone the only exception a oung boarder MrHolgrave A as wonderful name is now all alone the only exception oung boarder MrHolgrave A daguerreotypist as resident the poor Hepzibah has to open a cent store also to make a living what a humiliating situation for an upper class woman from a formerly prominent family Also visiting a relative Phoebe Pyncheon a penniless country cousin with all that implies the girl has no idea why the brother of Miss Pyncheon Clifford returns home after 30 Before Atlantis years was it for some crime Nobody is talking and the 17ear old girl doesn t ask too many uestions she is a guest after all and very grateful Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon a rich "distinguished man once a member of Congress and his son traveling "man once a member of Congress and his son traveling Europe somewhere are the last male Pyncheons not counting the unfortunate and sick Clifford nobody does People stay away from the strange house rumors about ghosts and unexplained deaths are a constant source of gossip for the dull town The bored Clifford likes to blow soap bubbles from the second story of the mansion one hits his haughty cousin the distinguished gentleman on the noseThe prosperous relative now has an excuse to visit wanting to talk to Clifford about a vague proposition but the nervous ex inmate blames the aloof magistrate for his troubles refuses A dark strange thick atmosphere engulfs the premises the ancient crumbling House of the Seven Gables will some sunshine ever brighten it A classic novel not as exciting as when it was first published The Gypsy Wisdom Spellbook yet worth reading still Over a century and a half after being first written many events have shocked the world making this rather mild in comparison Did Hawthorne s author of The Scarlet Letter a monumental work evil ancestors involvement in the notorious Salem kangaroo trials gullible adults fooled by emotional delusional bad children with no consciousDid these killings of innocent people haunt the great author OHMYFREAKIN GAWDWhy the hell did I pick this up again Life s too shortou say You have 200 other books on Life in the Slow Lane Observations on Art Architecture Manners and Other Such Spectator Sports your to read shelf and this was suckingour will to read Give it up You re right all of it and my answer is my excuse being because I m freakin stubborn Its Hawthorne I mean how much New Englandy can The Destruction of Jerusalem An Absolute and Irresistible Proof of the Divine Origin of Christianity you get I couldn t just give up I d be betraying my countryman Whatever For a fewears in my Three Cups of Tea younger days I worked down the street from the House of the Seven Gables and I d always get this literary stab of guilt for not having read it I d never fully look it in the eye feeling the shame wash over me Its judgmental gables peeking out at me while I d sit by the lighthouse eating lunch I want it all back All thoseears of remorse I could definitely put it to better use And 30 Day Alcohol Reboot: Rethink your drinking, reset your life you know what It s not such a bad story really It s got murder witchcraft a creepy house a curse a spinster and her childlike convict brother some mystery hottie and a fair maiden You throw in an organ grinder and some insolent chickens andou ve got the making of a great short story See there What I did I said short story But what Hawthorne does and what irritates the fuck out of me is draw out the narrative and then draw it out some It gets to the point where All God's Children Are Lost but Only a Few Can Play the Piano Finding a Life That Is Truly Your Own you read me throw the damn book down cursing and feeling likeou ve just been scolded by The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity your high school english teacher for not appreciating its nuances Ugh Double frickin UGHExample Do I really need 8 pages describing the gardens Or does he really feel he s being clever when he writes 18 pages playing out the death of one of the characters oops spoiler my bad I get itha haer just full o wit there NateI will say that there was one little salacious scene that had me all a twitter and thinking that I might see some girl on old decrepit man action On Clifford s part it was the feeling of a man naturally endowed with the liveliest sensibility to feminine influence but who had never uaffed the cup of passionate love and knew that it was now too late He knew it with the instinctive delicacy that had survived his intellectual decay Thus his sentiment for Phoebe without being paternal was not less chaste than if she had been his daughter He was a man it is true and recognized her as a woman She was his only representative of womankind He took unfailing note of every charm that appertained to her sex and saw the ripeness of her lips and the virginal development of her bosom All her little womanly ways budding out of her like blossoms on a Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events young fruit tree had their effect on him and sometimes cause his very heart to tingle with the keenest thrills of pleasure I think Nate was dipping into Fanny Hill hoping to uaff his own cup a bit but I was bored and of course picked up on this Maybe I ve just read too much Maybe I m just expecting too much I ve said before I grew up on Hungry Mans and the advent of the remote control Don t pussy foot around Give me what I want and give it to me now Oka. Ses the theme of human guilt in a style remarkable in both its descriptive virtuosity and its truly modern mix of fantasy and realism.