Review of The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy The return of the native was written by Thomas hardy in 1878, the
story is based on a place called Egdon heath. When hardy wrote the
novel it was the time of Charles Darwin, he had written his book ;on
the origin of the species' so this was a big influence on hardy's view
of god and evolution, it was also the time of the Boer war
(1899-1902). Hardy wrote the novel return of the native to portray how
life was in nineteen-century Britain was. The characters that hardy
wrote about were dominated by supersitions and religious influences
just like he was in that time of his life. Hardy was very keen to set
the book in a rural place so he chose Egdon heath which he described
as being 'vast', 'unenclosed', 'wild' and 'mysterious', it was also
referred to as being 'the home of strange phantoms': the people that
lived in the heath (heath folk) believed that the heath could make bad
things happen and if the people respected the heath then the heath
would respect them, their beliefs were based upon stories and
folklore, the heath folk feared the heath and its powers:
Pg12 "civilisation was its enemy"
In the novel hardy used personification to suggest the "the heath" had
power over the heath folk and it looked down and watch the heath folk
that live around the heath, the heath folks lives were ruled by the
image that the heath watch them as they were trying to live on and
away from the heath.
Egdon Heath is where the novel is set, It is not only the setting of
the novel, the rugged and unforgiving terrain of the heath plays a
crucial role, it seems to dominate the plot and determine the fate of
characters, it shapes the culture and attitudes of the local heathfolk
but also in motivating the main characters and even in shaping the
outcomes of crucial events. The heathfolk might imagine themselves to
have civilized their native terrain, but in truth the heath remains
wild, with a character of its own that asserts its will over its human
residents. Egdon heath is an isolated, desolated and wild place, the
night bring the heath to life, but the heath folk are even more afraid
of the heath when the sun starts to go down:
Pg 9 "looking upwards, a furze cutter would have been inclined to
continue his work; looking down, he would have decided to finish his
faggot and go home."
This shows that the men would have carried on working if he hadn't
have seen the sky closing in.
The Heath presents a harsh, lonely face which time never changes its
appearance. The vegetation makes it appear to wear a dark brown dress.
It is quiet, somber, and tragic by nature, and it seems to increase
the gloominess of both day and night. It is also obscure...