Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph Schwartz


The Blithedale Romance for all its apparent simplicity as a romance and as a story of a simple experiment in back-to-the-land communal living for mutual betterment and the betterment of society, is a subtly drawn novel. It is a novel of shadings of ambiguity and implications of deeper meaning. Awareness of this ''veiled meaning" must be insisted upon in the reader's approach to its rhetoric. In an ever more all-encompassing sweep, the veil shrouds the Blithedale world. Authorial background, setting, artistry, mood, tone, characters, point of view -- all contribute to the veil imagery which in turn controls and directs the action of the story and through which Hawthorne shapes the final meaning of the book. Blithedale is about the veiling of reality, the disguise of self, and particularly about reformers who are victims of fantasy and self-delusion. Hoffman calls The Blithedale the "attempt of a romancer to deal directly with t he surfaces of contemporary lif e while presenting allegorically an ironic criticism of its depths."1 The form then, he says has a "baffling intricacy which results from the complex purposes of the author." By using concrete details which contain implicitly at least, the veil, Hawthorne achieves verisimilitude; that is, the surface appearance of reality with larger metaphoric meanings submerged.