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MonkeyNotes-Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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Chapters 7-8

Summary

Clym's wedding takes place in the parish church in Mistover. Thomasin attends the wedding, but Wildeve does not. Mrs. Yeobright sits at home torturing herself and feeling resentful.

While Thomasin is at the wedding, Wildeve calls upon Mrs. Yeobright to pick up a package for his wife. Since the package contains money for her niece, Mrs. Yeobright refuses to give it to Wildeve, not trusting that Thomasin will ever see it. Instead, she entrusts Christian Cantle with money for both Thomasin and Clym and asks him to deliver it safely into the hands of her relatives, who are both in Mistover.

On the way to Mistover, Christian stops by the Quiet Woman Inn and is surprised when he wins a raffle there. Seeing his childish fascination with the dice with which he has won the raffle, Wildeve gives them to Christian to keep. Wildeve then leaves with Christian to accompany him to Mistover.

On the way, Christian reveals that he is carrying money for Thomasin. Seething with rage and humiliation that Mrs. Yeobright has refused to trust him with the money over Christian, Wildeve plays a dice game with Christian, gambling for guineas. Wildeve manages to win all the money, both that belonging to Thomasin and to Clym. Only later does Wildeve discover that half the money belongs to Clym.

Diggory Venn suddenly appears out of the shadows from where he has been watching and challenges Wildeve to continue the game. One of the dice gets lost in the surrounding darkness, and on one occasion the candle get extinguished, owing to a blundering moth. But the two men play on by the light of thirteen imprisoned glow worms. Finally Venn wins back all the money. Not knowing that part of it was meant for Clym, Venn meets Thomasin on her way back from the wedding and presents it all to her.


Notes

The wedding of Eustacia and Clym is not attended by Wildeve, who is jealous over Eustacia's marriage, nor by Mrs. Yeobright, who is horrified by her son's choice for a wife. Instead, Wildeve calls on his wife's aunt in order to pick up a package for Thomasin. Mrs. Yeobright refuses to entrust the package to him. There is heavy irony in the fact that she entrusts the package of money to Christian, who is judged as timid and foolish by the heath folk, rather than giving it to Wildeve. It is obvious that she still has not forgiven Wildeve for his earlier lack of kindness to her niece.

On the way to deliver the money to Mistover, Christian stops by the Quiet Lady Inn and is encouraged to participate in the raffle going on there. Being assured by the Egdon folk that there is nothing of the "black art" in the raffle, Christian consents to try his luck. To his amazement, he wins the raffle and thinks that the "lucky dice" are the cause of his victory. Because he is fascinated with the dice, Wildeve gives them to Christian to keep.

While Christian travels with Wildeve towards Mistover, he reveals that he is carrying money from Mrs. Yeobright to deliver to Thomasin. Wildeve feels insulted and furious that Thomasin's aunt trusts this fool with the money more than himself. As a result, he decides to gamble with Christian and to win the money from him, a feat that is easily accomplished. During the gambling, however, both men are absorbed with the game, which becomes symbolic. Hardy seems to be saying that life is like a throw of the dice; luck, chance, or fate is always in control and has no concern for the human it is affecting. Sometimes the roll of the dice is lucky; more often, it is not.

As fate would have it, Diggory Venn is once again at the right place at the right time. Concealed from view, he watches the dice game and decides to try and win the money away from Wildeve. He is successful and leaves with all the guineas. Ironically again, Venn meets Thomasin and gives her all the money, now knowing that half the money belongs to Clym. Innocently giving all the money to Thomasin, Venn sets loose a chain of events that neither he or anyone else can stop. Once again, fate will run its course.

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