The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
His mother's taciturny was not without ominousness, but he appeared not to care. He knew why she said so little, but he could not remove the cause of her bearing towards him. These half-silent sittings were far from uncommon with them now. (3.3.125)
This is family in a nutshell, at least in this novel. The disintegration of the relationship between Clym and his mother is a key plot point of the novel and it's interesting that the decline of their relationship is marked largely by silence. The sentences here all build up to the last abrupt sentence, where we learn that mother and son now sit in awkward "half-silence" together.
"I felt myself that he was hardly solid-going enough to mate with your family. Keeping an inn – what is it? But 'a's clever, that's true, and they say he was an engineering gentlemen once, but has come down by being too outwardly given." (1.4.9)
Family and society are two highly interconnected themes in this novel, as we learn from Olly here, when she assesses how Damon may not be socially "good enough" to marry Mrs. Yeobright's niece. This gives us some great insight into the historical period as well, an era in which money and family connections mattered as much, if not more, than love in a marriage proposal.
When the west grew red the two relatives came again from the house and plunged into the heath in a different direction from the first, towards a point in the distant highway along which the expected man was to return. (2.2.39)
This final image of the Yeobright women setting out together to greet the "returning native" is extremely vivid and makes use of highly-descriptive words like "plunged," which gives us the sense that the heath is like some sort of body of water.