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The Influences of Clym in The Return of the Native

The novel, The Return of the Native, explores the clash between the inevitable social change and a traditional way of life. Set in imaginary landscape of Wessex, the story concerns Eustacia Vye, Mrs Yeobright, Thomasin, and Damon Wildeve – and how Clym Yeobright, the returning native of the title, affects each of their destinies, an his own.

The brooding menace of Egdon Heath in Dorsetshire opens Hardy’s novel of tragic passion. Eustacia Vye, willful and longing for the excitement of city life, awaits her lover on the forbidding moor. She married Clym Yeobright, newly returned from Paris, thinking he would take her there, but Clym is content as the country schoolmaster. With her dreams thwarted and confused circumstances that lead her to believe she has caused the death of Clym’s mother, not even her affair with reckless Damon Wildeve can keep her from sinking into the despair that leads to her death by drowning. Once again Hardy creates a masterful net of destiny from which his tragic characters cannot escape.

Clym affected each of their lives in a different way. Before returning to Wessex, Thomasin was going to marry Wildeve. But Wildeve and Eustacia secretly liked each other. Mrs. Yeobright wanted Thomasin to marry Clym when he returned. But Thomasin liked Wildeve. So when Clym returned, he fell in love with Eustacia. She also loved Clym, and persuaded Wildeve to marry Thomasin. Then Eustacia and Clym got married. Mrs. Yeobright did not approve of any of these marriages.

After a while, Clym’s eyesight grew weaker and weaker until he was force to become a spur’s cutter. This made Eustacia mad because she thought she would never see Paris now. Suddenly, the feelings Eustacia and Wildeve had for one another grew stronger, and they began seeing each other again. All the while, Tomasin was feeling lonely. Her husband was not spending any time with her. Mrs. Yeobright felt as if she was being cast off by her son. When she went to visit him, but no one would let her in. She died on her way home. Rumors went around that Eustacia would let her in because she had a man in the house with her.

So Eustacia left Clym, and went to her grandfather’s house. She and Wildeve later decide to run away with each. But before they could live happily ever after together, they died. So in the end, if he had not returned, things may have turned out different. Cylm and Thomasin would have gotten married, and they and Mrs. Yeobright would have moved to Paris. Eustacia and Wild eve Would have also gotten married.

The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy, achieves the intensity of classical Greek tragedy in its depiction of a pitiable human struggle against relentless fate. The author’s somber view of human existence is expressed both in the superb opening description of Egdon Heath and in the tragic lives of Clym Yeobright, the returned native of the heath, his cousin Thomasin, Damon Wildeve, his mother Mrs. Yeobright, and Eustacia


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