Book 5: The Discovery, Chapters 1 - 3 Notes from Return of the Native

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Return of the Native Book 5: The Discovery, Chapters 1 - 3

Three weeks after Mrs. Yeobright's funeral, Humphrey visits Eustacia, and ask how Clym is. She tells him that Clym is ill and grief-stricken, and that he berates himself for not seeing his mother before she died. Eustacia cannot bring herself to tell her husband that his mother did come to see them. Later that evening, Thomasin comes to see her ill cousin. She tries to comfort him, but all she can do is listen to his anguished tears. Clym bemoans that he would have allowed his mother into his home if she would have come. Still, Eustacia says nothing. Wildeve comes to pick up Thomasin, who asks Eustacia to tell him to wait while she gives Clym last words of comfort. Wildeve sees how distressed Eustacia is about Mrs. Yeobright's death and its affect on Clym, and advises her to tell Clym the truth about Mrs. Yeobright, though to leave out the part implicating him.

Clym is able to walk around the house and garden now. One evening, Christian Cantle comes to call on Clym and Eustacia's house to tell them that Thomasin has had her baby and that both are doing well. Christian mentions that he saw Mrs. Yeobright on the day she died. Clym is shocked to hear that his mother was planning on visiting him that day and demands to know why. Christian replies that he does not know why Mrs. Yeobright wanted to see him, but assures Clym that Venn would know, as the reddleman had talked with Mrs. Yeobright the day before she died.

Clym goes to his mother's house to look over the household and check on the Yeobrights' things. When he is there, he receives an unexpected visitor--Diggory Venn--who has come to call on Mrs. Yeobright. Clym tells him that his mother died and asks if he knows why she wanted to call on him on the day she died. Venn firmly tells Clym that Mrs. Yeobright had forgiven her son and her son's wife, and wanted to make up with them, but Clym is confused: he does not understand what would make his mother believe that he would cast her off, if she had forgiven him. Greatly confused, Clym decides to see the Johnny Nunsuch, the little boy who was the last person to talk to Mrs. Yeobright before she died. Susan Nunsuch, Johnny's mother, is reluctant to let Clym see her son, for she believes Eustacia to be a witch and Clym to be the husband of a witch, but she finally allows Clym to see Johnny. Clym learns that Mrs. Yeobright was sitting outside Clym's house when Johnny first saw her; that an unknown man entered the house; that Mrs. Yeobright had knocked when she saw Eustacia at the window; that Mrs. Yeobright had left because she was not admitted inside and walked off with Johnny. Clym realizes that Eustacia must have shut out his mother, leading his mother to believe that he didn't want to see her.

Enraged, Clym returns home the next day and confronts Eustacia, demanding to know the identity of the male visitor she had seen on August 31st. When Eustacia replies that she does not remember dates well, Clym furiously yells at her, "The day you shut the door against my mother and killed her" Book 5, Chapter 3, pg. 249. Clym is rampaging, violent, even brutal as he tries to get Eustacia to confess. After he finds an envelope with 'Wildeve' written on it, he mistakenly believes that she is seeing Wildeve. As much as he is outraged and maddened, she defies him by not giving in to his inquiries. She does not admit that the man was Wildeve. She is frustrated and bitter at Clym and almost wishes that he would kill her, to get her out of the heath. Eustacia accuses Clym of deceiving her, and Clym suddenly realizes that she is in so much pain because they have stayed on the heath.

Topic Tracking: Man Against Nature 10

As Clym berates himself for falling in love with a woman the villagers dislike, Eustacia breaks down in tears and begs for mercy. She confesses that she did not open the door for his mother the first time, but would have the second time, if she had known that Clym was still asleep. Eustacia declares with as much dignity as she can that she will leave him. As she prepares to leave, Clym tells her that he might be able to pity her if he knew who the man was. Proudly refusing to tell him, she leaves abruptly. A little while later, Clym learns that Thomasin has named the baby 'Eustacia Clementine'.

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