Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 3, Chapter 2

By Thomas Hardy

Book 3, Chapter 2

The New Course Causes Disappointment

  • The narrator informs us that Clym loves the heath and the people of Egdon, but that he doesn't have a good understanding of them and his school scheme isn't planned out very well.
  • Clym is a huge part of the heath, but he doesn't quite understand his place in it.
  • "Take all the varying hates felt by Eustacia Vye towards the heath, and translate them into love, and you have the heart of Clym" (2.2.7).
  • Clym arrives home after his extended nature walk and announces to his mom that he's staying in Egdon.
  • His mom flips out and thinks that he's throwing his life away.
  • Clym gets all defensive and insists that his mom doesn't understand him.
  • Mrs. Yeobright says that she understands he's giving up a lot of money to come home and live like a loser. She also tells him his school idea is dumb.
  • Clym says that money isn't everything.
  • Then Christian Cantle shows up with some gossip.
  • Apparently, Susan Nunsuch decided that Eustacia is a witch and stabbed her with a needle in church to see if she bled or not.
  • Clym and his mom are upset by the news.
  • Humphrey comes in and corroborates Christian's story.
  • Clym is now concerned about his school plan since the residents of Egdon are more ignorant than he thought.
  • Later that day Sam stops by and gossips about Eustacia some more.
  • The Vyes' water bucket fell into their well and they can't get it out. Clym offers to go with Sam to help drag it back out, and finally to get a look at Eustacia.