Personal Goals Influencing Marriage in the Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
When one thinks of marriage, images of happiness, faithfulness, and unconditional love come to mind. Marriages are not for allowing two lovers to accomplish personal goals, but rather for faithful companions to live the rest of their lives together. In The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy presents the reader with two pairs of lovers that marry to accomplish personal goals, not because of a mutual love and a desire to obtain a lifelong soul mate. Hardy reveals the true motives governing the participants in the novels marriage alliances: Eustacia, Clym, Thomasin, and Wildeve marry to carry out their individual plans for the future, rather than for love of one another.
Eustacia Vye is a lazy, self-absorbed, cunning diva whose desire to marry Clym Yeobright is based on her vision of a extravagant life in Paris with her prized husband. It is the news that Clym is from Paris that generates Eustacia's vision of pomp and glamour. She gets so infatuated with her vision of what Clym Yeobright is, that before she even meets him, she has a dream of the two dancing the night away. There is further evidence of Eustacia's fascination with Parisian life. When Eustacia and
Clym meet while trying to fetch the water bucket from the well, there is mention of the boulevards of Paris, and this piques Eustacia's interest. Clym recognizes her interest in the city by saying, "I remember when I had the same longing for town bustle. Five years of a great city would be a perfect cure for that." (Page 191). Eustacia responds, "Heavens send me such a cure!" (Page 191). Finally, when the love between Eustacia and Clym blossoms, Clym proposes to Eustacia, and Eustacia's response is, "I must think. At present speak of Paris to me. Is there any place like it on Earth?" (Page 201). A bewildered Clym answers "It is very beautiful. But will you be mine?". Eustacia then asks even more questions about Paris, such as, "Now tell me of the Tuileries, and the Louvre." (Page201). Frustrated with the lack of a solid answer from Eustacia, Clym cries "I hate talking of Paris!", but this does not stop Eustacia's constant flow of questions about the city. This is definitely not the expected response to a proposal of marriage, and further evidences that Eustacia is more interested in a possible life in Paris than the love of Clym Yeobright.
Clym Yeobright also is interested in marriage to help carryout his own personal goals in life. Before the two meet face to face, without the mummer costume, Clym is introduced to Eustacia by Sam the turf-cutter. Sam reports to Clym that Eustacia is "a handsome girl" (Page 183) and that Clym ought to check her out. Clym's first response to this is, "Do you think she would like to teach children?" (Page 183). This brief passage shows that when presented with the opportunity to marry, Clym first thinks about the possibility that she would be willing to help him...