Character Analysis Uncle Venner


Uncle Venner is one of Hawthorne's unforgettable minor characters. He functions in the novel as a sort of one-man chorus, a philosopher of the street, who has "studied the world at street corners." Some of his golden maxims are "Give no credit!" and "Never take any paper money." While Hepzibah is trying to digest these "hard little pellets" of wisdom, Uncle Venner advises her, above all, to try to wear the symbol of the street, a "warm, sunny smile." The years of plodding up and down the gravel and pavement have left their mark on Uncle Venner's attire: He is patched together of different epochs, a veritable "epitome of times and fashions." Never having possessed the corrupting power of a Judge Pyncheon, he is tough and vigorous without being hard. Sheer antiquity has mellowed him so that he is as familiar within several family circles as he is outside on the street. He looks forward with pathetic cheer to ending his days at his "farm" — the poorhouse. In many ways, Uncle Venner is a foil for all the Pyncheons.

Back to Top