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MonkeyNotes-Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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Mrs. Yeobright

Mrs. Yeobright is a well-known and respected woman on the heath. Her deceased husband was a small farmer, so as a widow she must live frugally. As a result, she has a tendency to judge others by their material possessions. With her traditional wisdom and practicality, she is very much a product of the heath. She is also self-confident, as displayed when she questions Wildeve about the delay in marrying Thomasin, her niece.

As Clym's mother, she is devoted to her son and wants the best for him. She is disappointed that he has chosen to give up his position as a manger for a diamond merchant in Paris. She feels that becoming a schoolteacher to the poor on the heath is beneath him. She also feels Eustacia is beneath Clym and strongly counsels him against her. Always one to speak her mind and give advice, she constantly tries to dissuade Clym from marrying Eustacia and teaching the poor. When Clym moves out because of her nagging him, Mrs. Yeobright is quite hurt. She even refuses to attend the wedding. A deep rift has occurred in the relationship between mother and son.

Mrs. Yeobright's blind anger towards her son is due to jealousy and to the frustration of the maternal instinctive expectation of obedience, leading her to exclaim: "O Thomasin, he was so good as a little boy--so tender and kind!" There is both weakness and strength here; paradoxically it is the strength which gives rise to the weakness.

Hardy remarks that the love between mother and son is an exceptionally exalted thing, "indestructible," and "profound." In spite of her anger, Clym's mother cannot resist reconciling with her son. As her first act of reconciliation, Mrs. Yeobright sends him guineas that do not manage to reach him. She then decides to visit him in person in Alderworth. Her fatal first "visit" to her son's house shows that she is large-minded enough to forgive, though not generous enough to fully forget her son's errors.


Thomasin Yeobright

Thomasin, Mrs. Yeobright's niece and Clym's cousin, is gentleness personified. She is meek and mild, good and noble, and dearly loved by everyone who comes into contact with her, except for her husband, Wildeve. He takes her love for granted, plays with her emotions, and compares her unfavorably to Eustacia.

In spite of her softness, Thomasin can be firm when she feels it is necessary. With strong determination, she forbids her aunt from telling Clym anything about her affair with Wildeve and clearly states, "I will tell him myself." On the day that she actually gets married, she insists that she go alone, without her aunt accompanying her, and before Clym arrives.

It is unbearable to see the innocent Thomasin treated unfairly by her husband, and Hardy's readers probably wanted her to have a happier ending, hence the addition of the sixth book.

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MonkeyNotes-Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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