The Blithedale Romance Essay

1129 words - 5 pages

The Woman Named Zenobia In Hawthorne's story The Blithedale Romance, we are introduced to the character Zenobia. Zenobia is a wealthy woman who considers herself to be a feminist. She is always preaching her view of the woman's role in society. She is a woman who feels and speaks very passionately about the feminist's place in the world. This all seems to change as soon as Zenobia falls in love with Hollingsworth. After Zenobia begins spending more and more time with this man we start to see her position as a powerful and independent woman disappear more and more. Zenobia starts to fall behind Hollingsworth, he begins to control this feminist, and soon even all her opinions about feminism are nothing. Zenobia becomes, in this story the woman that she has been trying to do away with; she takes on the role of the woman behind the man.The trouble started in Zenobia's life when Priscilla is sent to Blithedale to live with her. Priscilla also falls in love with Hollingsworth. This is where the reader starts to see Zenobia's feminist point of view start to (Vaillette, 2) diminish. Zenobia in this book is picking a man over her sister, the first no-no in feminism. Zenobia is cruel to Priscilla. She tries to embarrass her so that she will look good in Hollinsworth's eyes. She even turns Priscilla over to Westervelt, whom Moody was trying to keep Priscilla away from in the first place. Zenobia does all of this just so Hollingsworth will love her. The reader begins to see the fall of Zenobia's feministic character more from the way she is with Hollingsworth. Hawthorne uses irony to portray Zenobia's character. The way she portrays herself in society and the way she acts toward Hollingsworth are the most ironic characteristics. In the public society, she portrays herself as an independent feminist. She comes across to the reader, at first, as a bit proud maybe even snobby. She seems to act like she is equal to if not better than any man, and at times she acts better than any person. She takes pride in being a woman and is very vocal on her opinion that women are equal with men. As the story continues and we see Zenobia with Hollingsworth, we see that she is not so independent anymore. She is starting to become less and less her own (Vaillette, 3) person and now is becoming the woman behind Hollingsworth. For example, in the chapter "Eliot's Pulpit," were Coverdale is saying that he wouldn't mind being ruled by a woman. Hollingsworth disagrees with him here. Hollingsworth says, "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………The heart of true womanhood knows where its own sphere is, and never seeks to stay beyond it"(Hawthorne, 101-02). After such a statement the reader would expect Zenobia to jump up with outrage and speak back at Hollingsworth with her feministic...

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