Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 3, Chapter 5

By Thomas Hardy

Book 3, Chapter 5

Sharp Words Are Spoken, and a Crisis Ensues

  • So Clym finally breaks the news of his engagement to his mom, who flips out.
  • They have a huge argument. Mrs. Yeobright disses Eustacia's family, Eustacia herself, and Clym.
  • Mrs. Yeobright finishes her rant with a flourish – "If you wished to connect yourself with an unworthy person why did you come home here to do it? Why didn't you do it in Paris? – it's more the fashion there" (3.5.31).
  • Clym storms out after that and goes to commune with nature.
  • Eustacia comes to meet him and sympathizes with him over his mom.
  • She agrees to get married immediately and Clym shares the happy news that they'll have to live in a tiny cottage at first while he continues to study.
  • Eustacia makes him promise it will only be for a few months and says her grandpa should be cool with it as long as it's not for too long.
  • Clym gets depressed after Eustacia leaves.
  • But he feels like he's stuck now and must make her see the best of it.
  • Apparently, if your last name is Yeobright, you have a tendency to rush into ill-advised marriages and then regret it soon afterwards.