From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native


by Thomas Hardy


Character Analysis

Rachel is Thomasin's servant and her baby's nurse, and she is only thirteen. This little detail gives us a lot of insight into the historical period in which this novel is set. Poor kids didn't go to school (which is why Clym wanted to start a school in Egdon) and frequently had to go to work at a very early age. Rachel is shown to be rather flighty – she loses Thomasin's glove (after borrowing them without permission) at the May Day dance (6.2.10). And Thomasin doesn't seem to trust her all that much with the baby – Thomasin seems to be a pretty hands-on parent.