The Return of the Native
is Thomas Hardy
's sixth novel, published in serial format in 1878. It concerns the residents of Egdon Heath, and in particular a Love Dodecahedron
that occurs between a discontented country woman Eustacia Vye, her former lover Damon Wildeve, his current love Thomasin Yeobright, and Thomasin's cousin, the returning native Clym Yeobright.
Contains the following tropes:
- Deus Angst Machina: Every main character has an unhappy ending. Eustacia and Wildeve die, and Clym goes mad. The couples are ill-matched.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Momma's Boy: Clym
- Purple Prose
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Thomasin and Eustacia. Thomasin is calm, good and contented. Eustacia is wild, selfish and passionate. Thomasin has chestnut hair, Eustacia is black-haired. Arguably Eustacia, who was intended to be the villain, is more sympathetic. Hardy seems to have been more attracted to her despite himself.
- Revised Ending: Hardy originally wanted Thomasin to remain a widow, but was urged by his publishers to fill up more pages and get Thomasin to marry the reddleman.
- Scenery Porn: The entire first chapter is about the heath.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Eustacia disguises herself as a boy to act a role, so she can meet Clym who has just returned home from Paris.
- The Idealist: Clym. He returns home to educate the villagers, but in vain. Arguably Eustacia as well, who loves Clym because she thinks he is her ticket to going abroad.