What is the summary for Chapter 6 of The Blithedale Romance?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Coverdale awakens in the morning to the sound of Hollingsworth’s prayers coming through the partition. He is struck by the man’s spirituality, yet does not necessarily follow his example.

Coverdale also awakens to a raging fever and is confined to bed for several days. He is cared for by Hollingsworth, whose tender ministrations impress Coverdale with their tenderness. Hollingsworth’s care is beyond that of a woman’s, and Coverdale ponders how men seem to rather attack the sick than to care for them.

Coverdale also continues to be fascinated by Zenobia. She continues to bewitch him, and he fixates on the daily exotic flower in her hair. It symbolizes her personality, and he marvels how it is new each day.

He also speculates as to her past. Had she been married? Something about her suggested it, though he had no solid evidence. She was not young, but neither was she past her prime. His fascination grows to the point where Zenobia recognizes it and acknowledges it. She brushes it off as the idle thoughts of a poet.

Coverdale continues to regain his strength, despite the harsh diet of gruel that is standard fair for the ill. His esteem for Zenobia does not reach to her cooking, which leaves something to be desired. To him it smacks of pine smoke, associated with witchcraft, which might be symbolic of the spell that Coverdale feels she is casting on him.