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Absurd Love

20 Dec

Our friend Sandy commented lately that Venn, the reddleman, would have made someone a fine husband.   Boy, do I concur.  I thought so right away, back in Book One, and everything I’ve read since has only confirmed my initial impression.

At one point in Book Two, Venn admits his feelings for Thomasin to Eustacia, saying, “I would sooner have married her myself…but what I feel is that if she cannot be happy without him (Wildeve) I will do my duty in helping her to get him, as a man ought.”    As a man ought?  Wow!   I don’t think most men would think they ought to help a woman they love right into the arms of another man!   Eustacia calls it strange – this love is so much deeper than her own concept of love she can’t even comprehend it:

What a strange sort of love, to be entirely free from that quality of selfishness which is frequently the chief constituent of the passion and sometimes its only one!

Hardy goes on to say that this type of love is so “well deserving of respect that it overshot respect by being barely comprehended; and she almost thought it absurd.”  Eustacia doesn’t even recognize this type of absurd love that puts someone else’s happiness above one’s own.   It’s almost Christ-like.   Definitely agape.   And, in Hardy’s (and today’s) world, almost absurd.

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6 Comments

Posted by on December 20, 2012 in The Blog, The Return of the Native

 

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6 responses to “Absurd Love

  1. Christina Joy

    December 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for putting words to my shock as I also boldly penned in my margins “As a man ought?!? Wow.”

     
  2. Ruth Lopez

    December 20, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Diggory displays many altruistic qualities in unexpected ways that he almost does not seem realistic. Helping the girl he wants to marry the guy she wants is a prime example.

     
    • Christina Joy

      December 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      I think you’re on to something here. It makes me thing that when answering the WEM chronicle vs. fable question he is that little bit of preternatural occurrence that makes this not a clear cut chronicle, in the same way “The Scarlet Letter” had a few strange things like the A in the sky.

       
  3. Patty Sessions

    December 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I just thought he was right. Of course he ought. (I probably watch too many Bollywood movies and read too much L. M. Montgomery…) Not that most of us attain that standard, but he’s right. 🙂

     
    • Jeannette

      December 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      You are right – totally right. This is the way we should be. But boy is it rare.

       
  4. Tonia

    December 21, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I like Diggory and really hope he gets his “happily ever after” (although I don’t really care for Thomasin.

     

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