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The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native Book 3, Chapter 2 Summary
The New Course Causes Disappointment The narrator informs us that Clym loves the heath and the people of Egdon, but that he doesn't have a good understanding of them and his school scheme isn't planned out very well. Clym is a huge part of the heath, but he doesn't quite understand his place in it. "Take all the varying hates felt by Eustacia Vye towards the heath, and translate them into love, and you have the heart of Clym" (2.2.7). Clym arrives home after his extended nature walk and announces to his mom that he's staying in Egdon. His mom flips out and thinks that he's throwing his life away. Clym gets all defensive and insists that his mom doesn't understand him. Mrs. Yeobright says that she understands he's giving up a lot of money to come home and live like a loser. She also tells him his school idea is dumb. Clym says that money isn't everything. Then Christian Cantle shows up with some gossip. Apparently, Susan Nunsuch decided that Eustacia is a witch and stabbed her with a needle in church to see if she bled or not. Clym and his mom are upset by the news. Humphrey comes in and corroborates Christian's story. Clym is now concerned about his school plan since the residents of Egdon are more ignorant than he thought. Later that day Sam stops by and gossips about Eustacia some more. The Vyes' water bucket fell into their well and they can't get it out. Clym offers to go with Sam to help drag it back out, and finally to get a look at Eustacia.
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