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MonkeyNotes-Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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BOOK SIX

Chapters 1-4

Summary

After Wildeve's death, Thomasin receives a substantial inheritance, but she decides to move into Bloomsend. Clym is glad and confines his own living quarters to two rooms in the back. Clym is busy preparing to be a preacher. At times, spurred by memories, he takes long, lonely walks on the heath. Venn, now a prosperous dairy farmer, calls on them. On May Day, Venn finds and confiscates Thomasin's glove, but Thomasin does not participate in the festivities.

Rachel, when confronted, confesses that she has taken, and lost, one of Thomasin's gloves. The next time she meets Venn, Thomasin demands the glove, which is promptly returned. After this chance meeting, Venn meets Thomasin often. Remembering that it is his mother's dearest wish to see them married to each other, Clym is about to ask Thomasin to marry him when she reveals that she wishes to marry Venn. He is at first inclined to disapprove, but later gives his consent.

The day of the wedding comes, and there is a lot of good-natured humor among the heath people, as they are engaged in stuffing a mattress to be given as a present to Thomasin and Venn. Clym gives the bride away and then wanders off towards Mistover. Here he meets Charley and gives him a lock of Eustacia's hair as a remembrance. After the wedding party, the bride and groom leave for Venn's farm in Stintford, and all the wedding guests depart, leaving Clym and his memories alone at Bloomsend.

The novel closes with the picture of Clym, now a preacher, standing atop Rainbarrow delivering the first of his "moral lectures."


Notes

Hardy states that "the original conception of the story did not design a marriage between Thomasin and Venn. He was to have retained his isolated and weird character to the last, and to have disappeared mysteriously from the heath. But certain circumstances of serial publication led to a change of intent."

The sixth book seems to be more an extra appendage than the logical sequence to the other five. Hardy is aware of this, for he says that "readers can therefore choose between the endings, and those with an austere artistic code can assume the more consistent conclusion to be the true one."

The sixth book defeats the unity of time that is found in the first five books, for the sixth book covers more than eighteen months after the cataclysmic events of the sixth November in Book Five.

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