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MonkeyNotes-Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

Egdon Heath, which forms the setting of the story, is in reality a string of heaths between Dorchester and Bournemouth. It is not only the setting of the tale, but seems to dominate the plot and determine the characters. Some writers cite the heath as the protagonist of the novel, and D. H. Lawrence considers it is the most important "character" in the book.


The characters can be classified into groups according to the various ways in which they react to the Heath. Clym Yeobright is the product of Egdon, and its shaggy hills are friendly to him. Eustacia is filled with a great hatred of this monster that holds her back from the indulgence of her fiercer passions. Wildeve thinks of it as a place to flee from. The reddleman is the spirit of the heath and is helped constantly by it. Thomasin admires its "grim old face," and to her, it is an impersonal open ground. It is ironic that both Wildeve and Eustacia die in the very place they wish to flee from: Shadwater Weir on the Heath.

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MonkeyNotes-Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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