The Blithedale Romance

by

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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A philanthropist obsessed with criminal reform, Hollingsworth is one of the founding members of Blithedale. He initially appears to be a friendly, devoted, and helpful man who works hard at Blithedale, encourages others, and cares diligently for Coverdale when he is ill. However, as the story progresses, Coverdale becomes suspicious of Hollingsworth’s single-minded obsession with his dream of building a facility to reform criminals. It seems to Coverdale that Hollingsworth’s obsession with philanthropy might lead him to be manipulative and inhumane in pursuit of his goals, which turns out to be true: Hollingsworth joined Blithedale not to support the vision of the collective, but to secretly use the group’s collective labor to further his own ambition for criminal reform. As it turns out, Hollingsworth always had plans to buy the Blithedale land (after everyone had worked so hard to make it fertile) and build it into his facility, a goal that nobody else shared. Zenobia and Priscilla, however, are blind to Hollingsworth’s faults and motives and they both fall in love with him. Zenobia’s love for Hollingsworth makes her very easy to manipulate, and Hollingsworth seems to use her love for him as a way to gain access to her substantial wealth (he wants her money to fund his criminal reform facility). Another odd aspect of Zenobia and Hollingsworth’s relationship is their mismatched values; while Zenobia is an advocate for women’s rights, Hollingsworth has very traditional views of a woman’s role in society—namely, that women are meant to be men’s helpers and inferiors. Hollingsworth’s beliefs about women are a major factor in his decision to cut ties with Zenobia in the end—a breakup that leads distraught Zenobia to end her own life. During his final confrontation with Zenobia, Hollingsworth is horrified by her accusations that he’s so self-interested and single-minded that he hurts other people. He is haunted by this conversation and by Zenobia’s subsequent suicide for the rest of his life, and he is never able to achieve his philanthropic goals. He does wind up marrying Priscilla, however, and the two remain together.

Hollingsworth Quotes in The Blithedale Romance

The The Blithedale Romance quotes below are all either spoken by Hollingsworth or refer to Hollingsworth. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Blithedale Romance published in 1983.
Chapter 9 Quotes

Thus, as my conscience has often whispered me, I did Hollingsworth a great wrong by prying into his character, and am perhaps doing him as great a one, at this moment, by putting faith in the discoveries which I seemed to make. But I could not help it. Had I loved him less, I might have used him better. He—and Zenobia and Priscilla, both for their own sakes and as connected with him—were separated from the rest of the Community, to my imagination, and stood forth as the indices of a problem which it was my business to solve.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

“She is the most admirable handiwork of God, in her true place and character. Her place is at man’s side. […] All the separate action of woman is, and ever has been, and always shall be, false, foolish, vain, destructive of her own best and holiest qualities, void of every good effect, and productive of intolerable mischiefs! Man is a wretch without woman; but woman is a monster—and, thank Heaven, an almost impossible and hitherto imaginary monster—without man, as her acknowledged principal! As true as I had once a mother, whom I loved, were there any possible prospect of woman’s taking the social stand which some of them—poor, miserable, abortive creatures, who only dream of such thinks because they have missed woman’s particular happiness […]—if there were a chance of their attaining the end which these petticoated monstrosities have in view, I would call upon my own sex to use its physical force, that unmistakable evidence of sovereignty, to scourge them back within their proper bounds! The heart of true womanhood knows where its own sphere is, and never seeks to stray beyond it!”

Related Characters: Hollingsworth (speaker)
Page Number: 122-123
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 15 Quotes

It appeared, unless he over-estimated his own means, that Hollingsworth held it at his choice (and he did so choose) to obtain possession of the very ground on which we had planted our Community, and which had not yet been made irrevocably ours, by purchase. It was just the foundation that he desired. Our beginnings might readily be adapted to his great end.

Related Characters: Miles Coverdale (speaker), Hollingsworth
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 23 Quotes

How strangely she had been betrayed! Blazoned abroad as a wonder of the world, and performing what were adjudged as miracles—in the faith of many, a seeress and a prophetess—in the harsher judgment of others, a mountebank—she had kept, as I religiously believe, her virgin reserve and sanctity of soul, throughout it all. Within that encircling veil, though an evil hand had flung it over her, there was as deep a seclusion as if this forsaken girl had, all the while, been sitting under the shadow of Eliot’s pulpit, in the Blithedale woods, at the feet of him who now summoned her to the shelter of his arms. And the true heart-throb of a woman’s affection was too powerful for the jugglery that had hitherto environed her.

Related Symbols: The Veil
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 25 Quotes

“Ah, this is very good!” said Zenobia, with a smile. “What strange beings you men are, Mr. Coverdale!—is it not so? It is the simplest thing in the world, with you, to bring a woman before your secret tribunals, and judge and condemn her, unheard, and then tell her to go free without a sentence. The misfortune is, that this same secret tribunal chances to be the only judgment-seat that a true woman stands in awe of, and that any verdict short of acquittal is equivalent to a death-sentence!”

Related Characters: Zenobia (speaker), Miles Coverdale, Hollingsworth
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:
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“It is all self!” answered Zenobia, with still intenser bitterness. “Nothing else; nothing but self, self, self! The fiend, I doubt not, has made his choicest mirth of you, these seven years past, and especially in the mad summer which we have spent together. I see it now! I am awake, disenchanted, disenthralled! Self, self, self! You have embodied yourself in a project. You are a better masquerader than the witches and gipsies yonder; for your disguise is a self-deception.”

Related Characters: Zenobia (speaker), Hollingsworth
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 28 Quotes

It was a woful thought, that a woman of Zenobia’s diversified capacity should have fancied herself irretrievably defeated on the broad battle-field of life, and with no refuge, save to fall on her own sword, merely because Love had gone against her. It is nonsense, and a miserable wrong—the result, like so many others, of masculine egotism—that the success or failure of woman’s existence should be made to depend wholly on the affections, and on one species of affection; while man has such a multitude of other chances, that this seems but an incident.

Related Characters: Miles Coverdale (speaker), Zenobia, Hollingsworth
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hollingsworth Character Timeline in The Blithedale Romance

The timeline below shows where the character Hollingsworth appears in The Blithedale Romance. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Old Moodie
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...has to do with the favor, but he mentions he has an older friend named Hollingsworth who is joining Blithedale the next day, as well. Coverdale thinks Hollingsworth’s reputation as a... (full context)
Chapter 2: Blithedale
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At Blithedale, Coverdale trudges through the storm with four other men. Hollingsworth, he knows, has been delayed and will join them later that night. The snow in... (full context)
Chapter 3: A Knot of Dreamers
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...them to the dinner table. She tells Coverdale how odd she thinks it is that Hollingsworth is late because he’s not the type to be stopped by a bit of snow.... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Supper-table
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...nobody gets up until they knock a second time and Zenobia says it must be Hollingsworth. Coverdale opens the door and it is, indeed, Hollingsworth, who comments on how long it... (full context)
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Zenobia sharply asks who the girl is and why she doesn’t talk. Hollingsworth—who is very tall and shaggy—says the girl’s heart will freeze if the women can’t warm... (full context)
Chapter 5: Until Bedtime
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...looks up like someone is calling her name, but she refuses to answer the call. Hollingsworth doesn’t talk much, and if someone talks to him, he looks very sternly at them.... (full context)
Chapter 6: Coverdale’s Sick-chamber
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...comes early. From his bed, Coverdale listens to everyone get up and get ready, including Hollingsworth saying his prayers (Coverdale is impressed by this). For his own part, Coverdale says that... (full context)
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Coverdale says that, even though most men are indifferent towards people who are seriously ill, Hollingsworth patiently takes care of him—perhaps because there is “something of the woman” within Hollingsworth that,... (full context)
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Even though Hollingsworth tells Coverdale that he’s not dangerously ill, Coverdale is mortified to realize that he’s getting... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Convalescent
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...is very devoted to Zenobia, but Zenobia sometimes loses patience with her. Priscilla also favors Hollingsworth and the two often talk together. Coverdale would like Priscilla to favor him, too, but... (full context)
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...similarities between Fourier’s ideas and the ones behind Blithedale’s creation. Coverdale discusses these ideas with Hollingsworth, who is horrified by some of them and orders Coverdale to hide the book before... (full context)
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In retrospect, Coverdale thinks that during this time Hollingsworth was going mad. He became monomaniacal, spending all of his time thinking of one idea,... (full context)
Chapter 8: A Modern Arcadia
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Priscilla sees Hollingsworth coming in from the field and runs to meet him. Halfway there, she suddenly stops... (full context)
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...Farmer’s Almanac, he’ll fall asleep whenever he sits down, and he’ll speak with a drawl. Hollingsworth says Coverdale hasn’t written poetry because hard labor takes away men’s “nonsense” and leaves only... (full context)
Chapter 9: Hollingsworth. Zenobia, Priscilla
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...to put them back together again. For this reason, Coverdale admits he might have done Hollingsworth wrong by studying him too closely. Had Coverdale been more indifferent to Hollingsworth, he might... (full context)
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...benevolence transforms into egoism. Coverdale admits that he might be exaggerating, but his words illustrate Hollingsworth’s dangerous tendencies. For his own part, Coverdale is torn between love for his friend and... (full context)
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Hollingsworth tells Priscilla to stop running around for the night, so she contentedly sits at his... (full context)
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The gossips in Blithedale theorize that Hollingsworth and Zenobia are in love. They frequently take long walks alone together, with Hollingsworth talking... (full context)
Chapter 10: A Visitor from Town
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One day while Hollingsworth and Coverdale are eating lunch under some trees after hoeing potatoes, they spot someone coming... (full context)
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Hollingsworth playfully scolds Coverdale, saying that surely Coverdale has already figured out that Priscilla makes the... (full context)
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Moodie tells Hollingsworth that nothing would make him happier than to see the “beautiful lady” holding Priscilla’s hand.... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Wood-path
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...his regret that laughing has cost him the right to resent the man’s description of Hollingsworth. Coverdale tries to leave, but the man stops him with another question—whether there is a... (full context)
Chapter 12: Coverdale’s Hermitage
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...into his hermitage, which is near Zenobia’s usual walking path. From his perch, Coverdale sees Hollingsworth in the field with the oxen. Coverdale thinks to himself that Hollingsworth sees people as... (full context)
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...Westervelt’s distinctive laugh in the forest below and he realizes that his thoughts about Zenobia, Hollingsworth, Priscilla, and Blithedale were actually reflections of Westervelt’s opinions, and his influence has darkened Coverdale’s... (full context)
Chapter 14: Eliot’s Pulpit
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...city, and others enjoy the scenery around Blithedale or take long naps in the barn. Hollingsworth, Coverdale, Zenobia, and Priscilla make a habit of going to a strange nearby rock formation... (full context)
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...isn’t happy unless he can degrade himself by stooping towards what he loves. Priscilla asks Hollingsworth if this is true and he says none of it is true. Zenobia asks if... (full context)
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Priscilla contentedly smiles up at Hollingsworth, happily absorbing everything he says. Coverdale knows the type of womanhood Hollingsworth idealizes is at... (full context)
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...another word, the group gets up and heads back. Priscilla skips on ahead, followed by Hollingsworth and Zenobia, and Coverdale in the back. Coverdale sees Zenobia press Hollingsworth’s hand to her... (full context)
Chapter 15: A Crisis
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...future and the group starts making permanent plans for cottages and larger communal living quarters. Hollingsworth engages in these discussions but without enthusiasm. Shortly after the event at Eliot’s Pulpit, Coverdale... (full context)
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Hollingsworth says he neither believes in nor values Coverdale’s expectations for Blithedale and insists that Coverdale... (full context)
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Hollingsworth cuts the discussion short and says he wants an answer: will Coverdale join Hollingsworth’s cause... (full context)
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Coverdale asks Hollingsworth what’s supposed to happen to Priscilla. Suddenly Hollingsworth looks fierce and asks why Coverdale insists... (full context)
Chapter 16: Leave-takings
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A few days after his argument with Hollingsworth, Coverdale announces that he’s going to leave for a holiday. This upsets Silas, who doesn’t... (full context)
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...doesn’t return it—he knows there’s no room in her heart for him. Coverdale walks past Hollingsworth without a word and towards the pigsty. Silas is there and says Coverdale must come... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Boarding-house
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...in after a late night at the theater. His sleep was tormented by dreams about Hollingsworth, Zenobia, and Priscilla. In one, Hollingsworth and Zenobia bend across his bed to passionately kiss... (full context)
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...When Zenobia reappears, Westervelt is behind her. It seems to Coverdale that only Moodie and Hollingsworth are missing to complete the set of people that have fascinated Coverdale for so long.... (full context)
Chapter 19: Zenobia’s Drawing-room
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...Furthermore, Coverdale believes that he is particularly fit to observe and judge both Zenobia and Hollingsworth because even though he’d judge and punish them for their wrongs, he would appreciate their... (full context)
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Coverdale coldly tells Zenobia that her description of single-minded people reminds him of Hollingsworth and his nonsensical philanthropic plans. As Coverdale predicted, Zenobia flares up in passionate anger, thus... (full context)
Chapter 20: They Vanish
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...if he fell in love with Priscilla in Blithedale and then he slyly asks if Hollingsworth has seen Priscilla in her new dress. Zenobia lashes out and asks why Coverdale keeps... (full context)
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...her free will and she tells him that she has none. Coverdale asks her if Hollingsworth knows where she is, and Priscilla says he urged her to come with Zenobia. Coverdale... (full context)
Chapter 23: A Village-hall
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...few weeks, Coverdale struggles to put his memories of Blithedale and his concern for Zenobia, Hollingsworth, and Priscilla behind him. Try as he might, he can’t stop thinking about them and... (full context)
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...and a bearded man enters the stage. Coverdale recognizes Professor Westervelt; he shudders and asks Hollingsworth where Priscilla is but gets no answer. Westervelt beckons the Veiled Lady forward to take... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Masqueraders
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...day and the closer Coverdale gets, the happier his heart is—he can almost imagine that Hollingsworth will warmly shake his hand, and Priscilla and Zenobia will greet him with open arms.... (full context)
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...says he’s missed quite the scene. Coverdale realizes he’s at Eliot’s Pulpit—Priscilla is sitting at Hollingsworth’s feet and Zenobia is standing in front of them. (full context)
Chapter 25: The Three Together
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Hollingsworth is wearing his usual clothes, but Zenobia and Priscilla are both in costume. Zenobia is... (full context)
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Zenobia tells Hollingsworth that it was unfair that one man has been her judge, jury, and accuser. She... (full context)
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Hollingsworth starts to leave but Zenobia stops him and says it’s only fair for him to... (full context)
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...woman that might have become a better person if God had been kinder to her. Hollingsworth, on the other hand, is not a man, but a monster eaten up with conceit.... (full context)
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...to Zenobia, and collapses at her feet. Zenobia tells Priscilla that she has won, and Hollingsworth is waiting for her. Priscilla gasps out that they’re sisters. Coverdale understands this as Priscilla... (full context)
Chapter 26: Zenobia and Coverdale
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Coverdale says this moral is too stern, but Zenobia changes the subject and says Hollingsworth has thrown away something that would have been better for him. She wonders what Priscilla... (full context)
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...from it. She tells him she should have thought of winning his love instead of Hollingsworth’s—she probably would have succeeded, and most people would think Coverdale is more worth winning. Coverdale... (full context)
Chapter 27: Midnight
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Around midnight Coverdale goes to the farmhouse and calls to Hollingsworth to come out. Coverdale is alarmed by the sound of his own voice. Hollingsworth comes... (full context)
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Silas, Coverdale, and Hollingsworth hurry down to the water. After waking up, Coverdale felt himself drawn to the spot.... (full context)
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Coverdale, Hollingsworth, and Silas make a bier to carry Zenobia’s body back. The thought occurs to Coverdale... (full context)
Chapter 28: Blithedale-pasture
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...in Blithedale, so they must discuss where to bury Zenobia. Coverdale suggests Eliot’s Pulpit, but Hollingsworth insists that they bury her on the hillside where they planned to build their cottage.... (full context)
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...is heartbreaking, it doesn’t destroy Priscilla. The worst that can happen to her is if Hollingsworth is unkind. In the present, Coverdale says Priscilla is still alive, so Hollingsworth is clearly... (full context)
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Coverdale says the moral of Hollingsworth’s life is that when a person devotes their entire being to philanthropy, it can destroy... (full context)