Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Title of the Novel: Its Significance in The Return of the Native

A good title must be appropriate and significant. Just as a signboard indicates the contents of a shop, a good title should indicate the substance or the basis theme of a nowel is the story of the tragic consequences of the return of Clym Yeobright who is a native of Egdon Heath.

Clym Yeobright was born and bred up on Egdon Heath. He is its native. He loves the Heath, and is permeated through and through with its influences. He finds the hills congenial and friendly, and its very spirit is in his blood. His playthings have been the flora and fauna of Egdon, and he is as familiar with the face of the ancient Heath, as one is with the face of a close relative. He is the son of Egdon, Egdon is in his blood, and he cannot remain happy away from it.
As Clym, the native of Egdon, was a promising lad, he was sent to Paris so that he may prosper and rise in life. There he became the manager of a big diamond business. He was doing well there, but still he did not feel happy and satisfied. He felt bored and tired in the artificial and unnatural life of the city of Paris. He did not feel at home there. He felt that in Paris, "he was pandering to the meanest vanities" of libertines and shameless women. The call of Egdon was too strong for him and he returned.
The return of Clym to his native Egdon causes much sorrow, suffering in the life of at least five people —Clym himself, Eustacia, Wildeve, Mrs. Yeobright and Thomasin. Clym was disgusted with the life at Paris, and he intended to devote the rest of his life to the education of the Heath-folk. He intended to stay for ever in his birthplace to start a sort of school for the education of the rustics. This is a noble end, indeed, but it too idealistic and is bound to result in frustration and disappointment. The illiterate Egdon people would never have appreciated his nobility or his attempts at education them. In order to put his plan into practice, he studies hard late into the night. The result is that he grows-semi-blind, and is obliged to take to the humble work of a furze-cutter to support himself. This is a great tragedy, and Clym's suffering can better be imagined than described.
But this is not all. His return brings tragedy in the life of others also. Eustacia, the Queen of Night, falls in love with him and marries him in the hope that he would take her to Paris, and in this way her craze for city life would be satisfied. She is disgusted with Egdon, regards it as a Hell, and yearns for the pomp and glitter of city life. When she finds that Clym has no intentions of returning to Paris, her frustration knows no bound. She turns once again to Wildeve, and plans to elope with him. The result is that both of them are drowned in the dark and stormy night.
Thus is cut short the career of the beautiful.Eustacia, and of Wildeve, the Rousseau of Egdon. Had Clym not returned, Eustacia would have married Wildeve, and all would have been well. As it is, his return makes Wildeve marry Thomasin, and the two ate incompatible by their very natures. Wildcve does not remain faithful to Thomasin for long, and makes love to Eustacia again. Thomasin suffers silently as long as he lives, and finally has to suffer the pangs of Widowhood. Her life would have been a long tale of misery, had not there been the faithful Diggory to marry her and thus bring a ray of sunshine into her dark life.
Again, it is the return of Clym to Egdon, that brings him into direct conflict with Mrs. Yeobright, his mother. Mrs. Yeobright loves her son deeply and devotedly. She lives for him alone. A wise and shrewd woman, she knows that Eustacia would never make a good wife to him. She, therefore, warns Clym against a hasty marriage with her. She strongly objects to their marriage. The result is that the two quarrel violently, and finally separate and live apart. The result is that both of them suffer acutely, but silently. Their suffering is terrible. When Mrs. Yeobright comes to know that her son has turned a furze-cutter, she relents and goes to his cottage to be reconciled. But cruel Destiny has willed otherwise. The door of Clym's house remains closed in her face, she turns back disappointed and exhausted, and dies on the Heath.
Thus the novel narrates the story of the tragic consequences of the return of Clym to Egdon, his native place. Hence the title is appropriate.

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Anonymous said...

Oh my god! What a wonderful passage!

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