Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 1, Chapter 7

By Thomas Hardy

Book 1, Chapter 7

Queen of Night

  • This chapter opens with a doozy of a sentence: "Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity" (1.7.1).
  • Top that, Thomasin.
  • Eustacia is likened to a Greek goddess, the night, winter, a Sphinx, and a Pagan. She's paralleled to Egdon Heath after dark as well.
  • We learn that Eustacia is the daughter of a Greek musician and Captain Vye's daughter. Her dad took her mom's last name in order to sound more English.
  • But now her parents are dead and she lives alone with her grandfather. Eustacia used to live in the bustling harbor town of Budmouth, and feels that Egdon is lame.
  • Eustacia is prone to moodiness, wandering around the heath (moodily), and daydreaming (also moodily). She has a raging ego, too: "The only way to look queenly without realms or hearts to queen it over is to look as if you had lost them; and Eustacia did that to a triumph" (1.7.12).
  • The profile of Eustacia continues. She's going through a rough adjustment period in her new home and she's basically latched onto Wildeve for want of anyone better in Egdon.