Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 5, Chapter 2

By Thomas Hardy

Book 5, Chapter 2

A Lurid Light Breaks In upon a Darkened Understanding

  • Clym decides to emulate his wife and spends his evening standing outside in his garden, feeling depressed.
  • Christian swings by to chat with him. Big mistake on Christian's part since Clym starts up with his "I'm guilty, woe is me" bit again.
  • Plus, Clym does his amateur detective routine and tries to figure out, yet again, what his mom meant by her last words and why she was wandering around the heath on such a hot day.
  • But Christian has some new intel – he saw Mrs. Yeobright before she went to Clym's house the day of her death and he assures Clym that his mother wasn't mad at him and was coming to see him.
  • He also tells Clym that his mom spoke to Diggory often, so Clym goes to find the reddleman.
  • Clym goes to his mother's house and wanders around, feeling depressed.
  • Diggory stops by to visit and Clym informs him that his mother died.
  • Diggory is upset and stays to talk about it with Clym.
  • He assures Clym that Mrs. Yeobright blamed herself for their strained relationship and insists that she wasn't angry with him.
  • Clym is more confused than ever and decides to visit Johnny to find out more details about his mother.
  • So Clym goes to visit Susan and her son Johnny.
  • Luckily, Johnny is feeling quite chatty. He tells Clym all about his encounter with his mom and how they both saw some man enter his house and how his mom knocked and wasn't let into his house.
  • Clym loses it and stomps home to confront his wife. Dun dun dun.