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The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native

by Thomas Hardy

Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

But Providence is nothing if not coquettish; and no sooner had Eustacia formed this resolve than the opportunity came which, while sought, had been entirely withholden. (2.3.28)

Providence sounds a lot like Eustacia then. Ba-dum. We're here all week folks. Anyway, in terms of the book's themes, it's definitely worth noting that fate is very, very fickle here.

Quote #2

Wildeve stood, and stood longer, and breathed perplexedly, and then said to himself with resignation, "Yes – by Heaven, I must go to her, I suppose!"
Instead of turning in the direction of home he pressed on rapidly by a path under Rainbarrow towards what was evidently a signal light. (1.5.122-3)

Wildeve's word choice here is worth exploring – he says that he "must" go to her, not that he "should" or that he "wants to." He didn't even toss an "I guess I must" in there. Wildeve makes it sound like he has absolutely no choice in the matter; in fact he's "resigned" to the fact that he doesn't have a choice.

Quote #3

"I do not plead for him, aunt. Human nature is weak, and I am not a blind woman to insist that he is perfect. I did think so, but I don't now. But I know my course, and you know that I know it. I hope for the best." (2.8.18)

Unlike most of the other characters here, Thomasin isn't a big believer in fate. Thomasin "knows her course" because it is practical. She isn't getting married because the universe demands it.

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