Thursday, January 21, 2010

True or False? Coverdale's Deception

While reading the book The Blithedale Romance, one is told the story from the mouth of Mr. Coverdale. The whole story is told from his perception and he comments regularly on many occurrences. He seems quite a fickle character from the beginning to the end, because he changes the way he acts and manipulates characters to find out the happenings going on around him. He seems to take on many different roles throughout the book; from being a poet to a dramatic bedridden sick man. The thing that makes me wonder about the story though, is the fact that he almost seemed to convince and mislead the reader into believing he fancied Zenobia.

Coverdale seemed to have a fascination with Zenobia and her characteristics. He made many comments about her and admires her very being. He and Hollingsworth were both intrigued with Zenobia's personality and charm, as you can say. They both seemed to think of her in a loving matter. The fact that Coverdale made it seem that Zebobia was the one he had feelings for, whereas it was revealed at the end that it was noneother than Priscilla, almost makes me wonder what else he may have kept from the reader.

I am not quite sure what else there is that he could have kept, but it truly does make me wonder. The fact that he did not show nearly as much interest in the innocent, pure character of Priscilla as he did Zenobia and her strong, independent actions and words makes me believe that the whole story may have been exaggerrated or parts may have been ommitted to Coverdale's liking. Coverdale seems to be a character who does not like his views challenged, so if he wanted the reader to take something from the story, he would have made sure that would have happened. Coverdale could have made the narrative what he wanted it to be. Throughout the whole book, the reader is to assume that the tellings of Coverdale are true, and his thoughts that he reveals are true. But after he reveals to us a secret that is somewhat unexpected, how can the rest of the story be automatically taken as fact?

1 comment:

  1. Ashleigh, you're right on both points. Coverdale works hard to conceal his feelings for Priscilla, with the result that the reader senses he's concealing something and isn't trustworthy. We're supposed to assume that he's telling the truth, but his manner of narration tells us that he isn't; he's concealing his views in part because he doesn't want to be challenged.