Literature / The Return of the Native

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.
  • 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.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Damon Wildeve has married Thomasin Yeobright despite still having unresolved feelings for his former lover, Eustacia Vye. Eustacia falls in love with Clym Yeobright, hoping that he will return to Paris once they marry. And reddleman Diggory Venn has a seemingly unrequited crush on Thomasin.
  • 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.