Tag Archives: The Return of the Native

The Heath is Alive with a Movie Soundtrack

Friday night I was wild and crazy.  I set up the portable DVD player in the kitchen and watched this movie while I prepped and cleaned up dinner.

ROTN movie

It was revolutionary.  Not the movie.  The watching while washing dishes–that was revolutionary.  Since I was multi-tasking, I grabbed an index card on which to scratch down some notes to share with you.  These are by no means exhaustive.  Fellow Blogger Christina and her husband also watched the movie.  I hope they’ll add in the comments anything vital that I forgot.

  • Clym sees Eustacia magically on the heath the 1st day he comes home.  I say magically because she appears out of the mist with a white horse.  Eustacia is played by Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Charlie does indeed hold E’s hand in exchange for her playing his part of the Turkish knight.
  • Clym recognizes Eustacia in the costume and the whole bucket in the well thing is skipped.
  • All attend Thomasin and Wildeve’s wedding.  At the wedding Susan Nunsuch stabs Eustacia with a pin during the service.  The wax figure of E is skipped, instead Susan burns a ribbon (we assume it’s E’s).
  • There is no gambling scene between Christian Cantle and Wildeve.  Or between Wildeve and Diggory Venn.
  • There is no snake.  Mrs. Yeobright keels over on the walk back to her home.
  • Eustacia immediately confesses to Clym that she did not open the door for her MIL because she thought he had.
  • The movie gave me the impression that Eustacia jumped into the water.  Thomasin, Clym. Wildeve, and the Reddleman were all there watching.  First she’s on the bridge, then she’s not.
  • The Reddleman’s love for Thomasin is downplayed.  The movie does end with their marriage.  Thomasin does not have a child.
  • The heath is not out to get everyone.

It was not my favorite rendition of the story.  I missed the force of the heath.  Sure the book was dark and depressing with the heath killing off folks left and right, but if you are going to make a movie version of a classic–do it right!  Stay true to the story!


Posted by on February 5, 2013 in The Return of the Native


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Pilgrims on the Heath

Book Third, Chapter seven

Mrs. Yeobright refuses to attend Clym and Eustacia’s wedding, but she does want to send a gift.  She trusts Christian to deliver money to the happy couple and her niece Thomasin.  Did you catch that?  She trusts Christian Cantle.  Yes, Christian.  The man who reminded me of Sancho.

In this chapter Christian Cantle reminds me of another Christian we’ve met: Christian from Pilgrim’s Progress.  Here we have C.C. with the Yeobright money in his boots.  He’s off  to deliver the inheritance.  Instead he’s tempted to visit Vanity Fair, I mean, to go to a raffle and then to a very serious gambling session in the woods.  You saw trouble coming, didn’t you.  Just like me, you knew that this Christian’s burden was going to fall off way too soon.  Those coins were never going to make it to Mistover Knapp.  Thankfully, the Reddleman was there to save the day.  From now on I’ll just call Venn, Greatheart.

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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in The Return of the Native


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We’re back! Where are you?

ROTN Hebdomadal Check-in

We’re back from our blogging break, and we want to know how you did with Hardy over the holidays?  In what book and chapter can we find you?  Share you place in the comments.

PS.  Know anyone who made a resolution to read a classic novel in 2013?  Maybe they’d like to read The Portrait of a Lady with us!


Posted by on January 7, 2013 in The Return of the Native


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Heated on the Heath

ROTN Hebdomadal Check-in

Things are getting complicated.  Our brides and grooms have been a little dense going into their marriages.  Perhaps vows were made impulsively?  recklessly?  thoughtlessly?

A marriage is a very different thing than a wedding.  Will everything work out for the newlyweds?  How do you think our couples are doing?

Please share your thoughts (and place in the book) in the comments.


Posted by on December 24, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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Dangers of Dancing

Back when we were reading Anna Karenina, I told you  that balls were bad news.

For anyone who might have missed out on the idea that sambas are serious business;  that doing the cha-cha-cha involves taking a chance; that foxtrots are definitely not free… I give you this quote from The Return of the Native, Book Second, chapter five:

He was there, of course.  Who was she that he danced with?  Perhaps some unknown woman, far beneath herself in culture, was by that most subtle of lures sealing his fate this very instant.  To dance with a man is to concentrate a twelve-month’s regulation fire upon him in the fragment of an hour.  To pass to courtship without acquaintance, to pass to marriage without courtship, is skipping of terms reserved for those alone who tread this royal road.

I repeat.  Dancing is dangerous.

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Posted by on December 24, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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Stupid Santa Question

Book Second, chapter 4

The merry troop of mummers is rehearsing in the Vye’s fuel house with Eustacia peeping at them through a hole in the wall.  Two of the mummers are described as having “darker habiliments” (attire).  One is the doctor.  The other is Father Christmas.

The Leech or Doctor preserved his character intact: his darker habiliments, peculiar hat, and the bottle of physic slung under his arm, could never be mistaken.  And the same might be said of the conventional figure of Father Christmas, with his gigantic club, and older man, who accompanied the band as general protector in the long night journeys from parish to parish, and was bearer of the purse.

Santa carries a club?  The “conventional figure of Father Christmas, with his gigantic club“?!

No wonder my niece used to be terrified of mall Santas. Have you ever heard of Kris Kringle carrying a club?

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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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Just say, “Here!”

ROTN Hebdomadal Check-in

It’s roll call time.  Where are you in The Return of the Native?

Have Hardy’s lengthy descriptions caused you to burn out faster than Eustacia’s bonfire?
Or does his carefully crafted prose make your imagination dance much like Grandfer Cantle at a wedding celebration?

Share you place in the comments.


Posted by on December 17, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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Eustacia Quixote

I’m getting little hints of Don Quixote throughout The Return of the Native.  I think it all started in Book Second, chapter three.  First Eustacia has a strange dream where she is dancing with a man in “silver armor“.  He’s even wearing a helmet and visor.  “Oh!” I thought, “this reminds me of our old friend DQ.”  Then in the very same chapter, the narrator uses a word I will always associate with Don Quixote–sally.

“The fifth sally was in the afternoon; it was fine, and she remained out long, walking to the very top of the valley in which Blooms-End lay.

Miss Vye is trying to, oh, so casually, run into newcomer Clym Yeobright.  All those trips out on the heath were for naught.

That’s okay… I have it on good authority that in just a few pages Eustacia will get to don armor herself.  Maybe even in the form of a cardboard helmet, just like our old errant knight.

PS.  Anyone else feeling a Christian Cantle/Sancho Panza connection?  Maybe I just miss Don Quixote.  Why is it the further away I get from some novels the more I like them?


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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Don Quixote, The Return of the Native


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Another lackluster response

returnnativeThomasin could live without Wildeve.

Eustacia has an equally unenthusiastic response to Wildeve’s offer to go to America.

“Well, I will think.  It is too great a thing for me to decide offhand.  I wish I hated the heath less-or loved you more.”

Oh, I’m sure that’s exactly the answer Damon was looking for.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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What does she want?

return of the nativeWhat does the central character want?

That’s one of the questions we must answer upon the completion of a novel.  Sometimes I sit and stew, hem and haw… and then I make a guess.

Other times the book itself tells me.

To be loved to madness-such was her great desire.  Love was to her the one cordial wich could drive away the eating loneliness of her days.  And she seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any particular lover.

These words from Book First chapter VII describe Eustacia Vye.  Great!  We know what she wants: “to be loved to madness”.

But again with the hints of Emma Bovary! “She seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any particular lover”. 

What have the women on the heath been reading?   Harlequin Romances?  They’re in love with the idea of love.

I’m worried.  Will any of the relationships last?


Posted by on December 13, 2012 in The Return of the Native


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