Silas Foster, the farm manager at Blithedale, teaches Coverdale, Hollingsworth, Zenobia, and Priscilla about animal husbandry and farming throughout their time at Blithedale. Although Silas lives at Blithedale from the beginning, he is not a co-founder of the society. A member of the laboring class, Silas is hired to help the Boston intellectuals learn to run a farm, but he doesn’t share the same expectations or beliefs about Blithedale’s future as an agrarian utopian society. In fact, Silas seems pessimistic about the farm’s ability to thrive, suggesting that the founders will become tired and disillusioned soon enough, and his pessimism proves more or less correct when the project falls apart. Throughout the story, he has an almost uncanny ability to predict how people will act. For instance, after Coverdale decides to go to Boston for a couple of weeks following an argument with Hollingsworth, Silas implies that Coverdale is going to abandon the project. Coverdale denies this, but it proves true—Coverdale returns briefly to see Zenobia, Hollingsworth, and Priscilla again (the night Zenobia drowns herself), but he leaves right after Zenobia’s funeral and never returns. Silas helps find and retrieve Zenobia’s body after she drowns herself.
Silas Foster Character Timeline in The Blithedale Romance
The timeline below shows where the character Silas Foster appears in The Blithedale Romance. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: A Knot of Dreamers
Chapter 4: The Supper-table
Chapter 5: Until Bedtime
...they should call the community, tossing up several ideas before deciding to keep it Blithedale. Silas tells them they should get to bed. Coverdale realizes he’s developed a bad cold and... (full context)
Chapter 6: Coverdale’s Sick-chamber
Chapter 8: A Modern Arcadia
...grow stronger and even develop callouses on their hands. Having become nearly as capable as Silas, they fall into a comfortable routine. The surrounding neighbors tell some slanderous lies about what... (full context)
...and a farmer. Zenobia launches into a humorous description of Coverdale’s future: he’ll be like Silas, his mind will turn into cauliflower, he’ll only read the Farmer’s Almanac, he’ll fall asleep... (full context)
Chapter 16: Leave-takings
...argument with Hollingsworth, Coverdale announces that he’s going to leave for a holiday. This upsets Silas, who doesn’t want to lose a good worker; he predicts that Coverdale is leaving for... (full context)
...her heart for him. Coverdale walks past Hollingsworth without a word and towards the pigsty. Silas is there and says Coverdale must come back for spare ribs. Coverdale replies that pigs... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Masqueraders
Chapter 27: Midnight