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What is the summary for Chapter 27 of The Blithedale Romance?

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted December 15, 2008 at 5:26 AM via web

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What is the summary for Chapter 27 of The Blithedale Romance?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 16, 2008 at 6:41 AM (Answer #1)

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It is close to midnight when Coverdale goes to Hollingsworth's window to solicit his help.  He has found Zenobia's "delicate handkerchief, marked with a well-known cypher" by the stream, and is filled with a terrible foreboding.  Silas Foster appears, and his help is requested as well.  Coverdale is afraid that Zenobia has drowned herself.

Foster is incredulous at the idea that a woman who "has more means than she can use or waste, and lacks nothing to make her comfortable", would do such a thing, but he goes along anyway.  The three men find Zenobia's unmistakable French-made shoe on the bank near the water, and taking a hay rake and a hooked pole, troll the water looking for her body.  At first, they find only "a monstrous tuft of water-weeds" and "a sunken log", but finally, Hollingsworth's pole strikes "some object at the bottom of the river", and Zenobia's body is found.  The discovery is a horrendous spectacle; the body is "the marble image of a death-agony".  Zenobia's knees are bent as if in prayer, but her hands are "clenched in immitigable defiance".  With the hook Hollingsworth has "wounded the poor thing's breast...close by her heart", just as he did in life.

Coverdale is stunned by the ugliness of her death, and muses that had Zenobia been able to foresee how she would look after being drawn from the water, she would never have "committed the dreadful act".  He likens her inability to distinguish between her romantic concepts and raw reality to "the Arcadian affectation that had been visible in all (their) lives" at Blithedale Farm (Chapter 27).

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