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The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native


by Thomas Hardy

The Return of the Native Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

It could best be felt when it could not clearly be seen, its complete effect and explanation lying in this and the succeeding hours before the next dawn; then, and only then, did it tell its true tale. (1.1.3)

Darkness represents a lot of different things in this story – danger, the past, mystical things. But, here, it's illuminating, in a sense – darkness functions as a space for "truth." Once again, nature (night and the heath) are personified with the ability to speak and "tell" a story. However, this story is told not through words but through "feelings," which makes sense in a novel where mood and atmosphere are very important.

Quote #2

Throughout the blowing of these plaintive November winds that note bore a great resemblance to the ruins of human song which remain to the throat of fourscore and ten. It was a worn whisper, dry and papery [...] .(1.6.5)

The heath is likened to a person again, with the wind functioning as a singing voice, and a sort of chorus of voices. This diction casts the heath and its "voice" as very old too, with words like "worn," "dry," and "ruins."

Quote #3

"Now Damon, do you see why I lit my signal fire? You did not think I would have lit it if I had imagined you to have become the husband of this woman. It is insulting my pride to suppose that."

Wildeve was silent; it was evident that he had supposed as much. (1.6.76-7)

Silences are as significant, if not more significant, than words in this novel, as Wildeve's lack of words prove here. This instance is very funny, though, since it also demonstrates just how arrogant Wildeve is.

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