Eustacia in the Return of the Native

Topics: The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy, Love Pages: 2 (809 words) Published: May 5, 2006
"You are desperate, full of fancies, and wilful…"
How far do u agree with Clym's opinion of Eustacia

From the outset of the novel Eustacia's character is steeped in mystery and intrigue. Before we even learn of her name Hardy describes her as "an organic part" of Egdon. As her character develops, and her thoughts and intentions unfold, the reader is forced to agree with Clym's opinion of her as "desperate, full of fancies, and wilful…". Eustacia displays these particular character traits within a number of passages in the novel, up to and including Clym's proposal in Book 3. We first get an insight into her mindset with her exchange with Wildeve on the Rainbarrow. Despite Hardy constantly associating her with nature it is made clear that "Egdon was her Hades" and that she longs to escape from the Heath. As well as this display of longing and desperation for pastures new, Eustacia also shows her fanciful and wilful side in this passage too. Using references to classical figures such as Sappho, Eustacia displays her overtly romantic side and her instinctive passionate nature. As well as these fanciful dreams she also displays desperation; she wants to be "loved to madness" and despite realising her mistake in loving Wildeve "she loved on". She is shown to be proud, describing herself as the "Queen of Endor", also being described "Queen of the Night" in the very heading of the Chapter 7. This Chapter is dedicated entirely to describing Eustacia. We learn that the reason for her love for Wildeve is her fanciful dreaming and her yearning for love "as one in a desert would be grateful for brackish water" and it is said that for her, in terms of love, there is "no middle distance in her perspective". This also displays her wilfulness to be loved, and she shows strong will once again with her exchange with Venn in Chapter 10; when he tries to persuade her to give Wildeve up she answers defiantly "[I] will never give him up!" With the talk of Clym's return she...

Bibliography: The Return Of The Native by Thomas Hardy
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