The Return of Native

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  • Topic: The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy, Egdon Heath
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  • Published : March 23, 2013
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The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878. Due to the novel's controversial themes, Hardy had some difficulty finding a publisher; reviews, however, though somewhat mixed, were generally positive. In the twentieth century, The Return of the Native became one of Hardy's most popular novels.[1]

|Contents |
|[hide] |
|1 Plot summary |
|2 Discussion |
|3 Character list |
|4 Adaptations |
|5 In popular culture |
|6 References |
|7 External links |

[pic][edit] Plot summary

The novel takes place entirely in the environs of Egdon Heath, and, with the exception of the epilogue, Aftercourses, covers exactly a year and a day. The narrative begins on the evening of Guy Fawkes Night as Diggory Venn drives slowly across the heath, carrying a hidden passenger in the back of his van. When darkness falls, the country folk light bonfires on the surrounding hills, emphasizing - not for the last time - the pagan spirit of the heath and its denizens. Venn is a reddleman; he travels the country marking flocks of sheep with a red mineral called 'reddle', a dialect term for red ochre. Although his trade has stained him red from head to foot, underneath his devilish colouring he is a handsome, shrewd, well-meaning young man. His passenger is a young woman named Thomasin Yeobright, whom Venn is taking home. Earlier that day, Thomasin had planned to marry Damon Wildeve, a local innkeeper known for his fickleness; however, a minor technical difficulty delayed the marriage and Thomasin, in distress, ran after the reddleman's van and asked him to take her home. Venn himself is in love with Thomasin, and unsuccessfully wooed her a year or two before. Now, although he knows Wildeve is unworthy of her love, he is so devoted to her that he is willing to help her secure the man of her choice. At length, Venn reaches Bloom's End, the home of Thomasin's aunt, Mrs. Yeobright. She is a good woman, if somewhat proud and inflexible, and she wants the best for Thomasin. In former months she opposed her niece's choice of husband, and publicly forbade the banns; now, since Thomasin has compromised herself by leaving town with Wildeve and returning unmarried, the best outcome Mrs. Yeobright can envision is for the postponed marriage to be duly solemnized as soon as possible. She and Venn both begin working on Wildeve to make sure he keeps his promise to Thomasin. Wildeve, however, is still preoccupied with Eustacia Vye, an exotically beautiful young woman living with her grandfather in a lonely house on Egdon Heath. Eustacia is a black-haired, queenly woman who grew up in Budmouth, a fashionable seaside resort. She holds herself aloof from most of the heathfolk; they, in turn, consider her an oddity, and one or two even think she's a witch. She is nothing like Thomasin, who is sweet-natured. She loathes the heath, yet roams it constantly, carrying a spyglass and an hourglass. The previous year, she and Wildeve were lovers; however, even during the height of her passion for him, she knew she only loved him because there was no better object available. When Wildeve broke off the relationship to court Thomasin, Eustacia's interest in him briefly returned. The two meet on Guy Fawkes night, and Wildeve asks her to run off to America with him. She demurs. Eustacia drops Wildeve when Mrs. Yeobright's son Clym, a successful diamond merchant, returns from Paris to his native Egdon Heath. Although he has no plans to return to Paris or the diamond trade and is, in fact, openly planning to become a schoolmaster for the rural poor, Eustacia sees him as...
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