Fatma's Reviews > The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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Jan 27, 12

Read from January 20 to 27, 2012

I'm absolutely blown away by this book. I keep thinking that it must have caused some controversy to be published in 19th century England.

It is set in and around Egdon Heath, and follows the lives of its inhabitants, in particular that of the Yeobright family, of Wildeve, and of Eustacia Vye, and the entanglements wrought upon their lives by love and fate.

I would describe it as a tragedy in the most classic form, despite certain plot twists (no spoilers). I loved the stark English setting, and the unique beauty that Hardy knew so well; I don't think anyone could have described the barren land more perfectly. Throughout the story, references to paganism were frequent, not enough to be a theme in the book, but enough to show that it was more than just a passing thought in the writer's head. It set the whole story in a very distinct light, and along with the absence of religious references, made me feel as though the writer wanted to keep the characters away from 'civilized' influence as possible.

Clym Yeobright, having come home from Paris, "that rookery of pomp and vanity", he quickly assimilates back into heath life, shedding all his city ways and embracing country life. I feel as though all the characters were left to be as true to nature as possible, and though this sometimes led to tragedy, it was just the way of nature.

Quite often I was reminded of 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' by Shakespeare, especially when Diggory Venn the reddleman lurked in the background like a big, red English manifestation of capricious Puck.

My absolute favorite part in the whole story was the gambling scene between Diggory Venn and Wildeve, late at night on the heath, by the light of a lantern, and later on by glowworms. The scenery, the depictions of the characters, the animals and insects on the outside looking in, painted such a vivid picture for me. I simply loved it.

This has completely changed my view of Hardy - we were 'forced' to read and dissect Far From the Madding Crowd in English class at school, and so this somewhat tainted my view of him. But I'm now looking forward to reading his entire bibliography.
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Quotes Fatma Liked

Thomas Hardy
“A blaze of love and extinction, was better than a lantern glimmer of the same which should last long years.”
Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native


Reading Progress

01/21/2012 page 55
14.0% ""Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity.""
01/21/2012 page 70
18.0% ""You little children think there's only one cuckoo, one fox, one giant, one devil, and one reddleman, when there's lots of us all." - I love this!"
01/24/2012 page 173
43.0% ""In the social sphere these gifted ones are mostly women; they can watch a world which they never saw, and estimate forces of which they have only heard. We call it intuition." - Hardy"
01/26/2012 page 178
51.0% ""Why is it that a woman can see from a distance what a man cannot see close?" - Hardy was a wise, wise man."
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