Return of the Native

The Prevalence of Coexistence in Nature College

In Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native, the main character Clym Yeobright seems to disappoint everyone he loves upon his arrival home to Egdon Heath from Paris. His refusal to continue to lead the life he had previously been living in Paris is most upsetting to both his mother and his wife, Eustacia, for they both aspired for him to be something more than a simple man of the heath. Clym, however, sees no shame in conforming to the heath and becoming one with nature. Hardy’s detailing of the land and its creatures solidifies this idea; for example, he draws a parallel between Clym and the snakes of the heath when he writes “immediately following the shedding of their old skins… their colours are brightest” (Hardy 274). Though Clym’s physical appearance becomes dull as a furze-cutter, his “brightest colours” also surface when he sheds himself of his old life.

This symbolic imagery alludes to the fact that Clym all along was meant to exist within nature, not beside it. He embraces his embodiment of nature, even though it ultimately costs him his relationships with the two people he loves most. Prior to Clym’s endeavors as a furze-cutter, he is utterly infatuated with Ms. Eustacia Vye, who tactically distracts Clym for her own...

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