The Return of the Native: Character Profiles
The Captain is the grandfather of Eustacia and before her marriage to Clym she lives with him at Mistover.
Christian Cantle is entrusted by Mrs Yeobright to take Thomasin and Clym their gift of money. He is described as naive and when Wildeve wins the money from him, Wildeve’s behavior may be perceived as all the more appalling.
The eponymous hero of the novel is characterized by the expectations others have of him. Because of his earlier successful career in Paris, and because he escaped from the area, his mother and Eustacia are crestfallen when he decides to give this up to be a schoolmaster. His partial blindness that comes with studying too hard may be interpreted as a metaphor for his inability to see (as in understand) what is happening around him.
Wildeve marries Thomasin but is still in love with Eustacia. He is typified by his passion for the unattainable and is, therefore, never content. His name denotes his uncontrolled desires.
Venn is characterized by his altruism and by his unselfish love for Thomasin. This generous spirit is finally rewarded when he marries her after the death of Wildeve.
Eustacia is depicted as an independent and yet indecisive lover. As her grandfather says, her romantic notions are dangerous for her. She, like Wildeve, also feels confined by the heath that surrounds her and this may be interpreted as their joint distaste for living in the past and their love of modernity.
Johnny is a minor character but is of importance as he tells Clym his mother’s dying words and actions. His mother, Susan, considers Eustacia to be witch and attempts to punish her with traditional methods.
This is Clym’s mother and although she is often seen to speak in haste and anger, she is also protective of those she regards as being in her care.
Thomasin is the cousin of Clym and goes on to be the wife of Wildeve and then Venn. Unlike Eustacia and Wildeve, she resembles Clym in her love for the heath.
Fairway is one of many local ‘rustics’ who belong to the scenery of the heath and the fading past.ustacia in the freedom it represents. The countryside is only a form of captivity for them and they rail against the hated backdrop that characterizes the novel. For Eustacia in particular, the town symbolizes culture and gaiety while her life in the country is one of isolation.Clym, on the other hand, returns from Paris with the desire to remain in the area. He regards the city and his work as meaningless and even effeminate when compared to the good deeds he could do on his native soil. It is also telling that Thomasin, another native, sees no malice or danger in Egdon Heath and is able to see the beauty of the place.
4. Discuss Clym’s idealism.
In terms of the plot, this native returns and stays for idealistic reasons. His desire to set up a school and do something ‘worthwhile’ before he dies is colored initially by a form of socialism as he cares about the education of others less privileged than he. This idealism soon becomes a little diluted, though, as he then goes on to consider developing a school for the more well-off farmer’s sons and this is further curtailed when his eyesight is affected.
However, by the end of the novel he regains some element of his dream of equality when he turns to itinerant preaching. He is last seen speaking at Rainbarrow on a Sunday and is listened to by heath men and women.
5. Consider the characterization of Eustacia.
From the outset, Eustacia is depicted as an independent woman as she is described as the ‘absolute queen’ in her relationship with her grandfather. She wanders the heath at will and takes the initiative when lighting the signal for Wildeve to come to her. She is also regarded as beautiful and therefore, as is often the case...
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