Of The Native Essay, Research Paper
There is no doubt that Eustacia Vie is the Heroine of the tragedy “Return of the native”. Without the majestic air that Miss Vie adds to the novel we are left with a typical period soap drama. Eustacia vie is on more then one occasion compared to classical characters of Greek mythology, and even in her death the nobility of her figure evokes images of classical sculpture.”Pallor did not include all the quality of her complexion, which seemed More the whiteness; it was almost light. The expression of her finely Curved mouth was pleasant, as if a sense of dignity had just compelled Her to leave off speaking.”
The almost Godly representation of the character juxtaposes the ‘rebellious adolescent’ image that is created by Eustacias’ pathetic attempts at passion and love. This serves as a direct comparison between Eustacia and Egdon Heath. Just as the heath seems simple and unappealing but is full of underlying Majesty, such is the character of the heroine only opposite; on the exterior, majestic and beautiful but on the inside a selfish plain teenager searching for an adventure. Eustacia Vie appears doomed almost from the moment she walks onto the stage of Egdon heath and Hardy uses classical allusions of Greek tragedy to force the audience to reflect upon the implications of her suffering. The heroine is labelled a witch by some of the heath dwellers on account of her power over men. Her dark form and figure and allusions to darkness in general support the superstitious accusations. Furthermore, her total selfishness could, at some points be defined as almost fiendish. Eustacia’s character is intriguing because it is one which Confuses the audience; as much as they long to despise her, they are ultimately forced to pity her.
Eustacia’s role in the novel is to play the part of the ’social rebel’ an outcast from the rest of the heath’s inhabitants it seems that hardy is suggesting that she is not suited with the environment of the heath. In fact, it is because she is isolated from society that she is so perfectly suited to the isolation of the heath. At early stages in the novel it is hard to keep an open mind about Eustacia Vie. Her actions appear selfish and ridiculous and readers cannot help but criticise the total lack of compassion for Thomasin as she seduces her fianc . Eustacias behaviour, on a closer inspection cannot be condemned as self-centred because her reaction was perfectly natural of one lacking in communal influence. Living with her withdrawn grandfather, Eustacia does not have a normal family to provide the human relationship she lacks because of her separation from the heath people. As a social outcast and an orphan, Eustacia finds herself isolated from the people who might teach her the values of Christian charity. Eustacia understandably does not feel compelled to sacrifice her own happiness for people to whom she feels no connection. When she seems unconcerned about the social repercussions of her efforts to steal Wildeve from Thomasin, Hardy emphasises that social rebellion does not necessarily reflect an evil character. “This did not originate in inherent shamelessness, but in her Living too far from the world to feel the impact of public opinion”
Eustacias’ desire for passion rather then a settled relationship reflects her separation from the practicality of the heath wives. For Eustacia, love is an escape from the loneliness that she feels on the heath. She longed for passionate love rather then a particular lover.”Love was to her the one cordial which could drive away the eating Loneliness of her days and she seemed to long for the abstraction Called passionate love more than any particular lover” Hardy associates Eustacia with the traditions of Celtic Paganism to place her rebellion against the heath’s ethics of selflessness and marriage in the context of historic individualism. When hardy first presents Eustacia as a silhouetted figure on top of the barrow. “The first instinct of an imaginative stranger might have been to Suppose it the person of one of the Celts, who built the barrow, So far had all of modern date withdrawn from the scene. It seemed A sort of last man among them, musing for a moment before Dropping into eternal night with the rest of his race.”
The connection between Celtic tradition and Eustacias’ wild nature shows once again how perfectly she was suited to the heath.”She had Pagan eyes full of nocturnal mysteries” Even her physical appearance was in perfect tune with that of the heath. Eustacia was free of modern values such as Christian charity and selflessness. She belonged to the heaths savage past not to the world of modern heath dwellers. Emphasising her role as a classical heroine, Hardy also associates Eustacia with Greek mythology. “She had the passions and instincts which make a model goddess, that Is those which make not quite a model woman”
Eustacia’s attempts at social rebellion directly oppose the reality of the community that surrounds her. She rebels against the conventions of the heath people, as when she dresses as a man to participate in the mumming at Mrs. Yeobright’s house. Hardy explains the reason to why it was impossible for Eustacia to exist in this reality. “Celestial imperiousness, love, wrath, and fervour had proved to be Somewhat thrown away on netherward Egdon. Her power was Limited and the consciousness of this limitation had biased her Development.”
Her individuality, Celtic looks and passion opposed the communal existence on the heath, which maintains social codes that bind together the basics of their existence. The conflict between Eustacia and the heath people’s lifestyle can be used to illustrate the incompatibility of the wild pagan past with modern realities.”To have lost the godlike conceit that we may do what we will, and not To have acquired a homely zest for doing what we can, shows aGrandeur of temper which cannot be objected to in the abstract, for it Denotes a mind that, though disappointed, forswears compromise.But If congenial to philosophy, it is apt to be dangerous to the
Commonwealth.”Hardy laments the way the wild past of the heath, is slowly decaying and making way to the modern world of schools, businesses and culture. Eustacia who doesn t realise how perfectly suited she is to the heath dies a tragic death. It is as if the modern society cut off the last connection that the heath had with people. Hardy hints at the way evolution doesn t allow for survival of minorities. This suggests that it is modern theories and the modern world that are moving people away from their roots and wild past, this will lead to unavoidable destruction. In my eyes, the point that Hardy is trying to make in this novel is that just as Eustacia vie, who is perfectly suited to the heath, tries to get away from her roots and is doomed to a tragic ending, such is society, which is trying to move away from its roots, trying to be as modern as possible, ultimately, society will be doomed to the same tragic ending.