The Blithedale Romance


Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Themes and Colors
Self-Interest and Utopian Societies Theme Icon
Progressive vs. Traditional Gender Roles Theme Icon
Secrecy and Self-deception Theme Icon
Manipulation, Control, and Ambition Theme Icon
Nature, Artifice, and Sexuality Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Blithedale Romance, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance depicts the formation of a small agrarian society called Blithedale. Meant to be a utopian society, Blithedale is founded on the principles of equality, simplicity, hard work, nature, and community. The narrator of the book, Miles Coverdale, begins his adventure in Blithedale with the best intentions (namely to prove to the world that there is a better way to live and to hopefully effect a social revolution), but his…

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One of the fundamental ideas behind the creation of the would-be utopian community at Blithedale was that men and women are essentially equal. This idea is in part pioneered by Zenobia, one of the community’s founders, who is a social reformer known far and wide for her lectures on women’s rights. However, when Zenobia falls in love with Hollingsworth, she seems to give up her beliefs in favor of his values, which are…

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance, all the characters seem to be concealing something: their real motives for wanting to be a part of Blithedale, their pasts, their true identities, their relationships, or their feelings. The story’s narrator, Miles Coverdale, is particularly obsessed with these deceptions; he spends much of the novel trying to uncover the mysterious pasts, motivations, and desires of his closest friends at Blithedale, which sometimes makes him a poor…

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance is full of ambitious dreamers who want to improve their lives. While some of the novel’s characters pursue their ambitions honestly (like Coverdale, who goes to Blithedale hoping to find a better life), others try to use manipulation and dishonesty to achieve their goals. Hollingsworth, for instance, tries to manipulate his friends into helping with his project while letting them think that he’s contributing to the collective, and…

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When a group of Boston intellectuals co-found Blithedale, a utopian society on a farm a few miles outside of the city, they believe that returning to nature, working the land, and abandoning the corruption and social artifice of the city will improve their lives. At first, it seems to work; the reformers learn to grow crops, they are friendly and cooperative with one another, and they seem happy. However, as time goes on, they realize…

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