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The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native

by Thomas Hardy

The Return of the Native Analysis

Literary Devices in The Return of the Native

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Darkness is used a bit like a clock in The Return of the Native – it signals the time of day as well as the time of year, as when we hear about "the dark hue of the winter period, representin...

Setting

We actually feel a little weird talking about Egdon Heath as just a setting – it's really more of a character. In fact, Hardy goes to a lot of trouble to set up the heath as a character at th...

Narrator Point of View

Our narrator is omniscient, or all-knowing. But the narrator's often very detached from the action. The narrator is almost retelling a myth in a lot of ways – there's a strong sense of histor...

Genre

DramaThis novel is the stuff Masterpiece Theatre productions are made of – it's filled with brooding, attractive people who are all doomed. Like a good drama, this novel keeps you on edge wit...

Tone

Given how many different genres this book has working together, it's not surprising that we have a lot of different tones here too. Layers of tone, like a complex musical piece. First up, we have t...

Writing Style

Since this novel is an odd blend of romantic and realistic elements (see the "Genre" section for more information on this), it makes sense the style would be a bit of a smorgasbord as well. There's...

What's Up With the Title?

This title certainly seems straightforward enough – it's all about a native who is, well, returning. Somewhere.All right, so that interpretation, brought to you by Captain Obvious, isn't goin...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

To sorrowI bade good morrowAnd thought to leave her far away behindBut cheerly, cheerly,She loves me dearly;She is so constant to me, and so kind.I would deceive her,And so leave her,But ah! she is...

What's Up With the Ending?

Melodrama and drownings abound at the end of this novel. Basically, half the main cast is dead by the end, and a third of the survivors are crippled with a permanent case of moodiness. This type of...

Plot Analysis

From the beginning until the end of Book 1.The end of Book 1, of course, when Eustacia learns that Clym is coming home from Paris, which basically sets everything else into motion.Book 2 – Eu...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

From the start until Eustacia meets Clym the night of the Christmas play.Eustacia literally kicks off the novel "anticipating" some sort of change, whether it's dumping Damon, eloping with him, dum...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Books 1 and 2: The beginning until Eustacia and Clym get married.Books 3 and 4: Eustacia and Clym's marriage goes increasingly south, Mrs. Yeobright dies in the novel's climax, and Clym and Eustaci...

Trivia

Robert Graves, a British writer probably best known for his World War I poetry and his historical fiction, admired Hardy. Graves even recounts meeting Hardy in his famous autobiography, Good-bye to...

Steaminess Rating

As with most Victorian-era novels, this novel doesn't have a lot of overt sex in it. Those Victorians were all about repression, after all. It's worth nothing, though, that a lot of Victorian novel...

Allusions

"Divine Florentine" a.k.a. Dante Alighieri (1.3.6)Albrecht Drürer (German painter) (1.3.9)"Queen Eleanor's Confession" (English ballad) (1.3.11-12, 1.3.112)"Lydia," folk tune of Psalm 133 (1.5.87)...
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