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The Return of the Native
Transcript of The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy Other Works Main Characters Book 2: The Arrival Book 3: The Fascination Book 5: The Discovery Book 6: Aftercourses Notes on the Book Critics Critics (cont.) Book 1: The Three Women Book 4: The Closed Door -Born June 2nd 1840 in an isolated cottage built by his grandfather in Piddleton Heath -Father was a builder; the Hardy men were known for having a passion for music. -Parents, rural community, heath environment a big influence in all of his work -Became an apprentice to an architect after his schooling, had to take long walks to his work across the countryside -Eventually got his own career as a restorer, met his wife Emma Lavinia Gifford on the job -Moved into Max Gate after marriage, an isolated home that Hardy built himself -Mother didn't approve of his marriage -Marriage slowly went bad as it kept going, but during this period of time Hardy became a successful novelist -Emma's sudden death in 1912 resulted in a sudden outburst of new, powerful poetry -Married a woman about 40 years younger than him about a year later -Died January 11th 1928, post-mortem complications -Desperate Remedies
-Under the Greenwood Tree
-Far from the Madding Crowd
-The Mayor of Casterbridge
-Tess of the d'Ubervilles
-Jude the Obscure
-Poems of 1912-13 -Clym Yeobright: The "Native", who has returned after working as a diamond merchant in Paris.
-Eustacia Vye: Young woman living on the heath with her grandfather and hates it, thought to be aw itch by the locals, in a romantic relationship with Damon Wildeve.
-Damon Wildeve: Inkeeper of the Quiet Woman Inn, "lady killer", to be married to Thomasin but really loves Eustacia.
-Mrs. Yeobright: Clym's mother, very proud and class-aware, disapproves of both Thomasin and Clym's marriages.
-Thomasin Yeobright: Clym's cousin, engaged to Damon, innocent but a little empty-headed.
-Diggory Venn: Reddleman with an undying love for Thomasin, camps out in the heath and randomly shows up throughout the story -Introduction to Egdon Heath
-Meet Diggory Venn encounters Captain Vye
-Meet Mrs. Yeobright and the locals as they light fires around Egdon Heath, everyone wondering where Thomasin is
-Thomasin found in Diggory's cart, explains that she wound up there after wedding stresses
-Thomasin and Damon talk in The Quiet Woman Inn, agree to marry as soon as they can
-Fire is seen in the distance and Damon goes to it, it's Eustacia's
-Turns out these meetings are a regular thing, Eustacia convinced the marriage problems weren't real and Damon just wanted to be with Eustacia
-Diggory finds out about Eustacia and Damon's meetings, threatens Eustacia with this knowledge and tries to be with Thomasin again but is rejected
-Rumors of Clym returning -Eustacia gets excited about meeting Clym as she hears more about him
-Eustacia sneaks her way into a play being put on for the Yeobrights
-Eustacia tells Diggory to give Damon a letter saying that she will no longer pursue him, but this hurts Diggory since it means that Damon will now be interested in Thomasin again
-Thomasin gets married to Damon, but Mrs. Yeobright and Clym aren't there
-Diggory tells them about the wedding, but forgets to tell them about an exchange of glares that Damon and Eustacia had -It is explained that Clym returned because he felt that city life was not for him, and that he felt guilty for not using his talents for others
-Clym talks to Eustacia while fixing a well near her house, they start to develop a relationship, Mrs. Yeobright disapproves, but Clym is intrigued by Eustacia
-Clym talks to Eustacia one night and are engaged by the time it ends, although Clym is already having doubts over whether or not their relationship will last due to a difference in ambitions
-Clym quickly gets married to Eustacia and Damon becomes jealous, immediately wants her back
-Damon visits Mrs. Yeobright on the day of Clym and Eustacia's wedding, she wants to give money to Clym and Thomasin, but doesn't trust Damon with it, so she gives it to local boy Christian
-Christian later runs into Damon at an event where he learns how to gamble, ends up gambling Clym and Thomasin's money to Damon
-Diggory shows up, wins the money back from Damon, but thinks it all belongs to Thomasin -Mrs. Yeobright becomes nervous as she doesn't hear anything about Clym receiving his money, goes to talk to him but instead argues with Eustacia
-Clym wakes up one morning with an eye condition from his night studies and because of this goes into furze-cutting, he argues with Eustacia about how he's happy with such a quiet, humble job and she leaves
-Diggory convinces Mrs. Yeobright to make peace with Clym and Eustacia
-Mrs. Yeobright goes to Clym and Eustacia's to make peace, but Damon is there first, neither are aware of each other
-Mrs. Yeobright comes to the door but Eustacia doesn't answer because she thinks Clym is answering the door, keeps talking to Damon
-Damon leaves and Eustacia realizes that Clym never answered the door, sees Mrs. Yeobright leaving in the distance
-Clym wakes up and finds his mother on the ground that night suffering from an adder bite
-As Clym tries to heal his mother with some locals, Eustacia is coming to reunite with him, runs into Damon, they see the commotion in the distance
-Eustacia and Damon eavesdrop, Mrs. Yeobright dies, and Eustacia feels guilty -Clym is in agony after his mother's death and Eustacia feels more and more guilty, Damon tells her not to mention him if she tells Clym the truth
-Clym slowly finds out that his mother was trying to meet him to make amends and that a man visited his house
-Clym later argues with Eustacia about how he knows that his mother visited and that a man visited as well, doesn't know for sure if it's Damon, Eustacia unloads her guilt and then leaves
-Clym learns that Thomasin and Damon are going to have a child, named Eustacia Clementine
-Eustacia is alone in the heath before she is picked up and brought back home by Charley, cared for while she is filled with grief
-Eustacia and Damon meet at a fire and he promises to take her to Paris
-Clym talks to Thomasin about his marriage, Damon arrives and she becomes suspicious, they argue
-Eustacia leaves and is alone in the rain, and doesn't get letter from Clym saying that he wants to talk to her
-Clym goes out to find Eustacia, Thomasin does the same and meets Diggory along the way
-Damon prepares to pick up Eustacia but sees Clym, they do nothing until they hear a body fall into the nearby weir
-Damon and Clym jump in at two different points on the weir, Diggory and Thomasin see this from a distance and go to help
-Clym, Eustacia, and Damon are pulled out, but only Clym is alive -Years later, many people have heard about Eustacia and Damon's deaths
-Thomasin and Clym live together with young Eustacia, Clym takes many walks alone
-Diggory pops up again and is now a dairy farmer
-Hints of Maeby a romance between Clym and Thomasin, but she says that she plans to marry Diggory
-While Thomasin is getting ready for her wedding, Clym is alone and receives one of Eustacia's hairs, he asks to be told how the wedding goes and if they miss him
-Clym becomes a preacher on the hill where Eustacia once stood -Originally published as a serial in Cornhill Magazine
-Was greatly censored and revised to be more appealing to families, without Christianity criticism, sensational emphasis on characters' relationships, and a more tragic ending
-Genre: Victorian tragedy (omniscient narrator, miscommunications, coincidences, complicated character relationships, fate vs. ambition, some kind of work through a struggle)
-Themes/Symbols: man vs. nature, isolation and alienation, fire "Clym, in particular, is a weak failure in characterization and nearly sinks the novel; indeed ought to capsize any novel whatsoever...[Eustacia's] suicide is so much the waste of a marvelous woman..that the reader finds Clym even more intolerable than he is and is likely not to forgive Hardy, except that Hardy clearly suffers the loss quite as much as any reader does. Eustacia underwent a singular transformation...from a daimonic sort of female Byron...to the grandly beautiful, discontented, and human...heroine, who may be the most desirbale woman in all of nineteenth-century British fiction...what about Egdon Heath? On this, critics are perpetually divided...I myself am divided..it is nearly as Shelleyan as [Eustacia] is...Even Melville cannot always handle this heightened mode; Hardy barely does, although he attempts it often...[Hardy] ought to have kept his intent, but perhaps it does not matter...as the book closes, our spirits are elsewhere, with the wild image of longing that no longer haunts the heath, Hardy's lost Queen of Night."
-Harold Bloom Why is it a Classic? "Too studied and self-conscious an imitation of classical tragedy...The Return of the Native was meant to recall the immensities of Sophocles and Shakespeare. But the facts of its fiction simply do not justify the application of so grand...a machinery...to associate Clym...with the likes of Oedipus and Aeneas is to emphasize how far short of them he really falls...But the Return of the Native is better than its defects; it breathes a reality that its very manifest weaknesses are powerless to explain or explain away...[Hardy] wins our consent because what he records has been both closely observed and deeply felt...Hardy worked to transfigure the trivial and the commonplace, to make the ordinary extraordinary." -John Paterson "The Return of the Native begins heroically, but slips more and more into the diminishing ironic and pathetic mode which characterizes Hardy's later tragedies...The heath mirrors the minds of its inhabitants, and for Eustacia it is hell...Whether or not [Hardy's] novels are legitimate and perhaps peripheral modes of tragedy I am not prepared to argue...[Hardy's novels] set the pattern for one of the dominant traditions of the modern novel."
-Leonard W. Deen "[The Return of the Native] is the first tragic and important novel...What is the great, tragic power in the book? It is Egdon Heath...What is the real stuff of tragedy in the book? It is the Heath...This is a constant revelation in Hardy's novels: that there exists a great background, vital and vivid, which matters more than the people who move upon it." -D.H. Lawrence -Notable use of the "man vs. nature "theme
-An attempt to revive the classic tragedy, and has many elements of one
-Still debated over whether or not it's good