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Blithedale Romance By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Coverdale or Cover-up?

Blithedale Romance is one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's splendid works which tells the story of a group of utopians who set out to reform their deteriorating, meaningless existence. They went to live in Blithedale community overlooked by the famed Zenobia. They started out with noble aims but the story ended in tragedy. In the story, careful analysis of the story would show that what really happened and what Miles was saying could actually two different things. Miles in his narrations seem to be holding back some important details and sugar-coated the truth by telling a version of his own. The end part of the story though would provide the clue as to why he finds the need to cover the truth. All throughout the story, the narrator carefully hid the fact that he has feelings for Priscilla by insinuating that it was Zenobia that caught his fancy. It was as if he purposely misled the reader into thinking that so his story would appear factual when in fact it could be full of biases.

Zenobia, at the start of the story, is full of life. She is at her prime. She is very successful as a magazine writer in which she used the pseudonym Zenobia. That is how the name came to be so popular. She holds the esteem of not only a few but most people in her place. Her committing suicide then comes as a huge puzzle. Even her friend, Mr. Westervelt, who knew Zenobia well, questions the very reason why she would commit such a grave mistake. This adds to the idea that a cover-up could have occurred. That Miles could not have narrated the whole truth about what had transpired. In the last portion of the story, we find Zenobia, a strong-willed woman, died because she committed suicide which prompted her long-time friend Mr. Westervelt to raise suspicions on such claims ("She was the last woman in the world to whom death could have been necessary" Chapter XXIX). This part is the subject of debate and the reason why questions surrounding Zenobia's death arise.

Miles depiction of Zenobia at the middle part of the story showed her as woman of strength but is also capable of weakness (how can she be happy, after discovering that fate has assigned her but one single event, which she must contrive to make the substance of her whole life? Chapter VIII). Zenobia questioned Miles statement as he commented on how happy Priscilla had become and he lamented that women are happier than men.

Zenobia unfortunately fell in love with Mr. Hollingsworth who, as the story unfolds, reveals that he wasn't in love with Zenobia. At one point of the story, when Miles criticizes Hollingsworth, Zenobia comes to the latter's defense. She believes that Hollingsworth actions stem from nobility and greatness of mind and not otherwise as what Miles believes. But Zenobia's love is unrequited despite her efforts. And this is believed to be the cause why she committed the ghastly act of suicide.

The conclusion of the story though seems to give a whole new twist as Miles admitted a long-held secret ('I--I myself--was in love--with--Priscilla!' Chapter XXIX). As Miles announced his real feelings for Priscilla one could not help but wonder if Miles could be hiding the truth all along. He is so good at convincing the readers that he has feelings for Zenobia throughout the tale that his admission in the end for his feelings



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