Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance

This paper discusses the character development of Zenobia in Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance.

While most of the characters begin their stay at Blithedale strongly believing in the romantic ideals that underlie the commune’s belief system, at the end of the novel, these beliefs are dramatically shaken. In fact, some of the characters begin to wonder what the worth of such idealistic devotions could be in the first place. Faced with a growing disillusionment with Blithedale, the loss of her family fortunes, and depressed by her unrequited love of Hollingsworth, Zenobia commits suicide by drowning herself. Indeed, while this decision might seem like a romantic, impulsive death, since she drowned herself out of love for another person, Westervelt questions the validity of such an intense romantic action.