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Book 4: The Closed Door, Chapters 1 - 4 Notes from Return of the Native

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Return of the Native Book 4: The Closed Door, Chapters 1 - 4

The passing summer days are pleasant for the newly married Clym and Eustacia. A few weeks after their wedding, Clym resumes his studies, while Eustacia ponders the best way to get Clym out of the heath. Her dreams of leaving for Paris are unbeknownst to Clym, for she has never mentioned them to him since they married. Meanwhile, Thomasin sends a thank-you note to her aunt for the guineas. Mrs. Yeobright wonders why Clym has not mentioned the guineas. Clym has no idea that he has money coming his way and it's unlikely he'll find out, for Thomasin has been instructed by her aunt not to say anything about the guineas, and neither Wildeve nor Christian will admit the truth about the money.

Mrs. Yeobright decides to see Eustacia about the guineas. Upon hearing Mrs. Yeobright's decision to visit Eustacia, Christian finally admits to Mrs. Yeobright that Wildeve had won the money, both Thomasin's and Clym's share. Christian suggests that perhaps Wildeve will give half the guineas to Eustacia. Fueled by this new suggestion, Mrs. Yeobright goes to see her daughter-in-law. Mrs. Yeobright bluntly asks Eustacia if Wildeve had given her money as a gift; Eustacia vehemently denies that she has the money and is deeply insulted at the implication that Clym needs guarding against her and that she is committing adultery with Wildeve. Eustacia then accuses Mrs. Yeobright of having hated her all this time for no reason. When Eustacia furiously proclaims that she married beneath her, Mrs. Yeobright hotly retorts that her son's lineage is far better than Eustacia's. Eustacia explodes, "If I had known then what I know now, that I should be living in this wild heath a month after my marriage, I--I should have thought twice before agreeing" Book 4, Chapter 1, pg. 185. The two women part in silence and anger.

Clym notices that Eustacia is deeply upset and asks her why. He is confused when his wife mentions the money. Eustacia expresses her anger and frustration at the fact not only Mrs. Yeobright, but also Clym himself, would accuse her of having a relationship with Wildeve. She passionately declares that she hates the heath and desperately needs to escape. Clym is shocked and hurt that Eustacia has not reconciled herself to the idea of living in Egdon. The next day, Thomasin brings Clym's share of the guineas. Thomasin tells Clym that his mother had visited her after seeing Eustacia. She also tells him how disturbed and angered his mother had been. Clym regrets that the argument between his mother and wife happened, and fears they will never be friendly.

Greatly disturbed by his mother and wife's argument, he immerses himself in his studies. Clym's eyesight weakens from his staying up late at night to study. He is devastated when the surgeon informs him he must give up reading for a while. Clym is nearly an invalid--he can hardly see. A sad Clym goes out for a walk one day, meeting Humphrey, who is cutting furze. When Humphrey tells Clym that furze and turf-cutting would be an ideal occupation for Clym, as his poor eyesight would not conflict with the work, Clym seriously contemplates the job and then decides to become a furze-cutter.

Topic Tracking: Heath Customs 10

When Eustacia hears of Clym's new job, she is devastated and humiliated. Clym finds furze-cutting useful and actually rather comforting--he enjoys being on his beloved heath. He is content with his job, which consumes most of his time. One afternoon, Eustacia sees her husband cutting furze and weeps bitterly. She feels that her husband's job is degrading and her pride is wounded by the working-class status furze-cutting implies. Watching Clym sing while working, Eustacia confronts him angrily. They argue about the job, and Clym asks if she is sorry she married him. Eustacia does not deny that she wanted a better life than the one she now leads on the heath.

Topic Tracking: Natives' Attitude Toward Heath 7
Topic Tracking: Man Against Nature 8

Eustacia, despondent about Clym's job, becomes forlorn and listless. Clym tries to comfort her by promising he will cease furze-cutting as soon as he finds something better. Wanting to cheer her up, Clym agrees that she should attend the village picnic and dance, called a 'gipsying'.

Topic Tracking: Heath Customs 11

The gipsying is in full swing when Eustacia arrives. She only attends the gipsying because she does not want anyone to think that she is suffering and miserable. Eustacia is not enjoying herself until Wildeve approaches her, to her surprise. He asks her to dance, and she gladly accepts. Eustacia and Wildeve have mixed feelings about the dance--for Eustacia, the dance lifts her spirits and gives her much-needed pleasure and excitement; for Wildeve, the dance makes him long for Eustacia even more. After they dance, they confide in each other. Wildeve admits that he is miserable without her. He also has heard of Clym's weak eyesight and new job as a furze-cutter and offers his sympathy. Eustacia weeps when Wildeve mentions that he thought Clym would have taken her back to Paris by now. He offers to walk her to Throope Corner, the area near Clym and Eustacia's home, where Eustacia is to meet Clym. However, when they see that Clym is accompanied by Diggory Venn, Wildeve leaves in a hurry.

As Eustacia and Clym walk toward their house, Venn heads in the direction of the Quiet Woman Inn. He had seen a man leaving Eustacia's side just before she met him and Clym at the corner, and he is sure that the man is Wildeve. He arrives at the inn to find Thomasin alone and asks where her husband is. When Thomasin tells him that Wildeve has gone to buy a horse, Venn cryptically replies that he had seen her husband leading a "beauty with a white face and a mane as black as night." Thomasin wonders what she can do to keep her husband at home more. Hearing that Venn has talked to Thomasin about the "beauty with a white face and a mane as black as night," Wildeve knows that Venn must be suspicious of his involvement with Eustacia.

Topic Tracking: Fate 5

Venn decides to thwart Wildeve from seeing Eustacia. Knowing that Wildeve will head toward Mistover to see Eustacia, he sets up a trap for Wildeve in the path, tying two tufts of grass so that Wildeve may get caught in the trap and fall down.

Topic Tracking: Natives' Attitude Toward Heath 8

Wildeve does fall in Venn's trap, and he realizes that Venn and Mrs. Yeobright must be plotting against him and Eustacia when he sees reddish color in the grass. He decides to see Eustacia despite Venn's efforts to prevent him. He sends a moth in the Vyes' window to fly around Eustacia's candle. Eustacia immediately recognizes the moth as her and Wildeve's signal and is about to meet him outside when she hears a loud knock on the door. Clym answers the door himself before Eustacia can and finds no one there. Meanwhile, Wildeve is heading home when he is shot at from the bushes. He tries to ask the constable for help, but the constable is not home. Hurrying home, Wldeve decides to see Eustacia during the daytime. At the same time, Venn goes to see Mrs. Yeobright and tells her that Wildeve may be seeing Eustacia again and persuades her to make up with Clym, just as Clym decides that he must try to reach out to his estranged mother.

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