A Look At Hardy's

Aug 29 18:29 2010 Nick DAlleva Print This Article

Thomas Hardy's novel "The Return of the Native" is about the power of rural life as evidenced by how it shapes the characters in the story. In the story, nature helped all of the characters find true happiness.

In the novel The Return of the Native,Guest Posting Thomas Hardy frequently examines the revitalizing power of rural life as his main theme. This power of the naturalistic rural life is evident throughout the entire work. The setting of the story takes place in the beautiful wilderness of Egdon Heath. Hardy describes the Heath as wild and untamed, “it was at present a place perfectly accordant with man’s nature—neither ghastly, hateful, nor ugly.” He shows that it is beautiful, not just in an aesthetic fashion but in the way that it shapes the characters in the story. The heath makes such a dynamic impact on the story that it is, itself, a character of the novel.

Clym Yeobright, the protagonist of the story, is the character that is most involved and revitalized by nature. He, in fact, is the native who returns to the heath. Clym had been in Paris where he had become a successful jeweler until he realized that what he wanted most was not material wealth. What Clym desired most was the happiness and comfort of the heath. Upon his return to Egdon Heath, he yearns to become a schoolmaster for the unscholarly land and tries very hard to achieve this goal. Clym Yeobright returns to nature and is revitalized and finds the happiness and solace for which he has been searching. However, he is set back when, by reading late in the dark, becomes partially blind. Due to the fact that he can no longer study and prepare lessons for a school, Clym must search for a new job. This new job, though it seems less glamorous then teaching, involves manual labor and allows Clym to commune with nature itself causing him to become happier than ever. Clym is further revitalized and comes to further appreciate the subtle beauty and gifts that nature has to offer.

In a different way rural life also revitalized the beautiful Eustacia Vye. She yearns for an escape from the heath, which she hates passionately. She eventually realizes that this will never come to be with Clym, whom she is married to, and secretly plans an escape with Damon her former lover. The rural essence of the heath destroys one relationship while opening the way to a new life and new relationship for Clym. Egdon Heath is in itselft a character. Some hate it while others love it. It creates relationship like the marriage of Eustacia and Clym, while at another instance destroys them.

Egdon Heath is a monotonous entity that serves not only as the setting for The Return of the Native but also as a key character. For Clym Yeobright, the heath calls him back to find his true happiness and meaning. Even after becoming partially blind, Clym finds his happiness in nature. On the other hand, the power of nature creates relationships while at the same time destroys them. Each character in the novel are pushed by the power of rural life to pursue what they desire most.

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Nick DAlleva
Nick DAlleva

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