Do you think that Egdon is a sinister or benign influence?
The entire opening chapter of The Return of the Native is devoted to a
lengthy description of Egdon Heath, the setting of the novel. The
heath must be significant in terms of the themes and the continue
progress of the novel. The author of the novel, Thomas Hardy, made the
heath so significant to the point that it can be look upon as a
character like any other in the novel. The heath's constant
correlation with the plot and its "personality" even transformed it
into the major antagonist of the story.
In the opening chapter the heath is introduced just as how a major
character of most novels would be introduced with detail. In fact, the
way Hardy devoted the entire first chapter just to describe it gives
it the level of importance that is over any other characters in the
book. This seems to suggest that the heath is like the "ruler" of the
story, it is the King, and it is more powerful than any person is.
The heath demonstrates the idea that fate is more powerful than the
desires of individuals. This theme can be seems throughout the novel.
The biggest effect of this theme is on Eustacia. The fact that Clym
delayed sending his letter to Eustacia, coupled with the fact that
Captain Vye unwittingly kept the letter from Eustacia until it was too
late, suggests that perhaps destiny is against her. It is under the
downpour of the rain, on the rugged heath where Eustacia laments her
fate. Eustacia's own remark, "how destiny is against me!" and "I have
been injured and blighted and crushed by things beyond my control!"
affirm the existence of such a force, the power of fate...
... middle of paper ...
... continue work; looking down,
he would have decided to finish his faggot and go home". The tone of
the description of the heath is morose, sombre and gloomy. In the
description, Hardy only describes the heath as dark and scary. He
chooses to illustrate these things and gives the story a morose
feeling. His sombre and gloomy tone is reflected in his attitude
toward the heath. The tone makes the heath appear seem scarier and
more powerful. Thomas Hardy delivers a powerful and firm attitude
towards Edgon Heath. He feels that it is a dark, scary and living
place. He uses and combines various literary techniques in order to
achieve his goal of convey his feelings towards the heath to his
Overall, Egdon is portrayed as a member of the novel, not just a
setting. Its participation as the role of antagonist greatly carried
out The Return of the Native.
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