The Return of the Native
The Return of the Native Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
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.
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.
"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.