Return of the Native

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A novel by T. Hardy, published 1878.

The scene is the sombre Egdon Heath, powerfully and symbolically present throughout the novel. Damon Wildeve, engineer turned publican, dallies between the two women by whom he is loved—the gentle Thomasin Yeobright and the wild, capricious Eustacia Vye. Thomasin rejects her humble suitor Diggory Venn, a reddleman, and is eventually married to Wildeve. Thomasin's cousin Clym Yeobright, a diamond merchant in Paris, returns to Egdon intending to become a schoolmaster. He falls in love with Eustacia, and she marries him, hoping to induce him to return to Paris. But to her despair he will not return; his sight fails and he becomes a furze‐cutter on the heath. She becomes the cause of estrangement between Clym and his beloved mother, and unintentionally causes the mother's death. This, together with the discovery that Eustacia's relationship with Wildeve has not ceased, leads to a violent scene between Clym and his wife, and ultimately to Eustacia's flight, in the course of which both she and Wildeve are drowned. Clym, blaming himself for the death of his mother and his wife, becomes an itinerant preacher, and the widowed Thomasin marries Diggory Venn.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Thomas Hardy (1840—1928) novelist and poet

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