Re: The Picture in the House
I don't think that I'll read it a second time. I'll move on to the next story. There is some reference to Hawthorne as it applies to Puritanism. The atmosphere involved a sort of gothic setting but not quite, and that word, "grue" is perfect since the houses had grown as part of the land itself.
As for the racist interpretation, I don't think that it was that big of a deal (I know about the photo), and Lovecraft would not be appalled at racism. Those people were all racist, yet it might have worked back than since there was no way to control or govern people and communities, or provide for everyone with services and education, etc. So basically there were strange people in those parts and this story is a reminder. It was a shocking tale, which makes it effective.