Themes In Thomas Hardys Return Essay Research

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Themes In Thomas Hardys Return Essay, Research Paper Page1 The Return Of The Native Numerous themes run through Thomas Hardys novel The Return of the Native. They serve as a means of collecting together the different ideas that Hardy wanted to incorporate into the novel, and introduce the main plots. One of the novels central themes is coincidence. It links to most of the other themes and many of the events in the book come about because of a coincidence. An example of this is when Captain Vye happens to meet Diggory Venn and he reveals that he is carrying a woman in his van. The Captains denunciation that it is “That girl of Blooms-End” prompts him to relay this gossip to Eustasia, which sets in motion a chain of events which shape the rest of the plot. Another such

instance is when Eustasia happens to pass Susan Nonsuch’s cottage whilst Johnny is ill, just as he exclaims “mother I do feel so bad” Susan at that moment looks up and sees Eustasia, causing her superstitious mind to assume she is responsible. However Hardy implies that some of the events put down to coincidence are actually deliberate. Diggory Venns frequent appearances throughout the novel always seem to coincide with moments when Thomasin Yeobright is in trouble. As is later revealed Venn is a rejected suitor of hers, yet far from being discouraged he has vowed to ensure her happiness, even if it does not involve his own, and as such interferes when ever he thinks it is at stake. Coincidence is closely related to the theme of fate, which runs throughout the book. When

Eustasia, Wildeve and Clym are in the water, the two former, past lovers drown in their pursuit of each other, yet Clym survives, to begin a new life as a preacher. This could be interpreted as fate, as could Susan Nonsuch’s burning of the effigy of Eustasia, shortly before she drowns. Venn continually attempts to alter fate by his interference in Thomasin’s life, in an attempt ensure her happiness. The death of Mrs Yeobright too is perhaps the result of a twist of fate. If Eustasia had not presumed Clym had opened the door to her she would not have been out on the heath in such an emotionally drained state in order to get bitten by the adder, something which in it’s self is an unusual occurrence, even the native heath folk have “only once seen such a bite”. The naive

heath folk themselves are very superstitious, and there are countless examples of this throughout the novel, such as Christian Cantle’s vision of the ” red ghost ” (Diggory Venn) and Susan Nonsuch stabbing Eustasia because she thought she was bewitching her son. This superstition causes them to attribute certain events to supernatural forces which they believe are responsible for any trouble. Eustasia’s mysterious beauty and odd behaviour for example, leads her to be accused of witchcraft. They hold unshakeable beliefs that elements such as witchcraft exist. This naivity is often the cause of much trouble, which Hardy is quick to point out. What they don’t understand they fear, something that to a lesser degree still applies today: people still believe in ghosts and

witches, and prejudice against people different from themselves. Love is important in the novel, because it shapes the actions of most of the main characters. Eustasia’s greatest wish is to be ” loved to madness ” something which she will go to almost any lengths to achieve. She is even prepared to jeopardise the future of an innocent woman (Thomasin) in order to keep Wildeve whom she believes she loves. Yet Eustasia’s love is fickle, as her marriage to Clym reveals, her real interest was in escaping the heath and going to Paris, which she saw was possible through Clym. Once all hopes of this have been dashed, and a coincidence puts Wildeve back on the scene, she is quick to take advantage. Wildeve too loses his appeal once she realises she is no longer competing for his