Mrs. Yeobright: Character in The Return of The Native

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      Mrs. Yeobright is the mother of Clym. She is introduced into the novel as a woman of middle age, with well-formed features of the type usually found in a person whose mind is perfectly clear and free from any kind of confusion. Her outstanding qualities are her deep love for her son, Clym, her strength and firmness of mind, her shrewdness and sagacity, her wide observation and understanding of human nature, and her essential honesty of purpose. She is the first to die in the novel and her death indirectly results in the immediate separation of Clym and Eustacia, followed by the details of Eustacia and Wildeve. She is a highly practical-minded lady. She vehemently opposes the plans of Clym to start a school. She wants Clym to stay back in Paris because there he has a respectable job. She had brought up her with great care and devotion and had entertained high ambitions regarding the future of her son. She urges him not to give up his job.

Her Opposition towards Eustacia

      Yeobright does not possess a good opinion of Eustacia. She knows that Eustacia is not a good girl and believes that she is a curse upon Clym. Mrs. Yeobright says to him, "Is it best for you to injure your prospects for such a voluptuous, idle woman as that? Don't you see that by the very fact of your choosing her you prove that you do not know what is best for you?" Her grievance becomes further deepened when Clym rejects both her pleadings not to give up his job and then not to marry Eustacia.

      Yeobright's opposition comes out of a practical mind. Her only intention is the well-being of her, son. Her words prove to be true, considering the subsequent happenings. She laments when Clym marries Eustacia "O, it is a mistake" and "And he will rue it some day, and think of me."

Her Death

      After Venn persuades her to visit her son, she plans to go there. But her purpose for reconciliation becomes futile and it results in her death and subsequently the deaths of Eustacia and Wildeve. She is not even deterred from her decision to reconciliate by the feeling of humiliation that she experiences in having to make advances toward her daughter-in-law. It is fate that sends her back, with a broken heart making her think that her son didn't open the door deliberately. An adder bites her on the way making her death inevitable. It is chance which plays a major role in Mrs. Yeobright's tragedy, but she does act rashly in jumping to conclusions concerning Clym's attitude towards her. Mrs. Yeobright's influence upon Clym becomes more stronger after her death.

Conclusion

      Mrs. Yeobright is one of the important characters in the novel. She is a prime mover, though she is not playing the lead role, her proud, rash acts push the characters further towards their doom. After her death, she is the reason for the separation of Clym and Eustacia. Her influence upon Clym becomes more stronger after her death.

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