Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 5, Chapter 1

By Thomas Hardy

Book 5, Chapter 1

"Wherefore Is Light Given to Him That Is in Misery"

  • It's now been three weeks since Mrs. Yeobright died.
  • Eustacia is hanging around outside in her garden, as usual, and Humphrey stops by to ask after Clym.
  • Clym is still inconsolable.
  • Eustacia goes inside to speak to Clym. He's super depressed.
  • Eustacia still hasn't said a word to him about not letting his mom in for a visit that day.
  • The two talk in circles since all Clym can, or wants, to talk about is how guilty he feels and how wonderful his mom was.
  • Clym wallows and Eustacia stews. Then Thomasin stops by for a visit.
  • Clym goes on a shame-spiral rant, which really worries Thomasin. Eustacia remains pretty quiet through the whole thing.
  • We learn that Thomasin is going to have her baby in another two months.
  • Clym just won't stop talking and is obsessed about why his mother said what she did to Johnny before she died.
  • Finally Damon pulls up in his carriage to pick up Thomasin.
  • Eustacia rushes out to speak to him about her own guilt, since Clym is hogging the guilt spotlight at home.
  • Damon offers up stupid advice, like not telling Clym he was in the house when Mrs. Yeobright came to visit.
  • He then wishes that Clym would just die already and Eustacia gets mad at him.
  • Thomasin comes out and the Wildeves drive off, with Eustacia watching them from the window.