No Man-Made Heaven on Earth

For hundreds of years, people have sought to devise utopian schemes to create a heaven on earth.  They have soon discovered, however, that society cannot be changed without changing the human heart, which only God can do through the saving work of the Holy Spirit.  As a young man, Nathaniel Hawthorne spent a few months at Brook Farm, one of the many socialist communes that sprang up all over America in the first half of the twentieth century.  He used his experiences in that failed experiment as the setting for the most recent addition to the literature website, The Blithedale Romance.  More a study of the four main characters, including the unreliable narrator, than an analysis of the commune, the novel uses many layers of symbolism to discuss the changes occurring in American society in the middle of the nineteenth century as well as the unchanging characteristics of human nature that undermine any attempts to create a perfect world.