The Return of the Native Themes

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Time

The role of time and the effect of its passage are major themes in the novel. As the story spans eighteen months, the landscape of the heath remains unchanged—that consistency is reflected in the people who live on the heath for generation after generation. They are creatures of tradition, following the same wedding rituals, the same harvest rituals, the same holiday traditions and the same folk remedies (such as the traditional cure for an adder's bite) that has been handed down to them. Sometimes traditional beliefs lead to hostility, like the fear of Eustacia Vye being a witch.

The characters who encounter difficulty are the ones who are not content to live in rhythm with country life. Most notably, Eustacia is impatient with life on the heath, wishing for the "bustle" ofParis. Wildeve is also bored with life on the heath. When he inherits a large sum...

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This section contains 814 words
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The Return of the Native from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.