The Blithedale Romance

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Does Hollingsworth show any love for Zenobia in The Blithedale Romance?

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It's largely a matter of opinion, but I would say no. One gets the impression that the only thing that Hollingsworth really cares about is his ambitious plan to construct a large building on land currently occupied by the Blithedale community. He does nothing to discourage Zenobia's passionate devotion towards him, but that's only because he wants to get his hands on her money. He desperately needs that money if he's to go ahead with his visionary plans.

That's not to say that Hollingsworth is completely selfish; he's genuinely committed to his projected philanthropic scheme. It's just that, like a lot of social visionaries, his love for humanity greatly exceeds the love he has for individual people. Loving Zenobia, or anyone else for that matter, would simply get in the way of Hollingsworth's big plans.

Over the course of the book, Hollingsworth shows himself as all too willing to sacrifice others for what he perceives as a higher cause. In headlong pursuit of his noble philanthropic venture, he has tyrannized those around him, including Zenobia, keeping himself aloof from what he regards as the petty passions of love. For the likes of Hollingsworth, love is something purely abstract, something that bears no resemblance to love as most people would understand it.

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