Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Blithedale Romance/Suicide

I assumed, as I do too much, that The Blithedale Romance would be in the sense of everything romanticized and feely rather than a two-peeps-in-love story (multiple peeps for this reading). In fact, I read most of the story before I was given the historical background and it led me to a sense of a simpler gathering with less expectations, and further, led me to a different sense of the characters who I really liked and felt immersed in.

I liked Coverdale. There, I said it. He seemed to me as though he was trying very deeply to overcome the conflicts in his mind about what he's doing. He knows that the city hasn't worked for him and he wants to leave but he's also cynical with basis because he expects no better, though he'll try to some degree with his fellows. His character struck me as a natural observer and a mind without actions, and omnipotent narrator who isn't really omnipotent or separate from the story (make sense?).

I saw the end of the book as the true revelation of why their community failed and similar communities failed, historical implications, social implications, etc., etc., blah, blah, etc. I saw that it came down to simple relationships between these people and how they went about not doing anything worth doing other than being silly whimsical people as a symptom of what they were trying to do with their community--perfection. Then someone dies and its not a big deal because everyone is so overwhelmed with their own feelings and such.

In that sense, I suppose it ended up giving me both interpretations of the "romance" in The Blithedale Romance. All in all, I liked the book and believed that it could be a reflection of what actually happened in that time and Hawthorne's sarcasm is well placed now that he looks back on such an extreme--maybe extremely silly--approach to re-creating functioning society. It may have had its merits, its theoretical solidities, but it completely left behind the physical for the spiritual thinking that approach would be better than leaving the spiritual behind for the physical seen in the society they fled.

Of course, I liked The Scarlet Letter unlike everyone else who ever read it ever so maybe that's me at an even mind plain of sorts with Nate Hawthorne.

Austen Szott