The Return of The Native: Book 4, Chapter 1 - Summary & Analysis

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BOOK FOUR: THE CLOSED DOOR

CHAPTER I: The Encounter By the Pool

Summary

Clym Studying Hard

      Clym and Eustacia were now living in their small house at Alderworth beyond East Egdon. After three or four weeks of their marriage. Clym started studying seriously to compensate for the lost time, wishing to enter his new profession without delay. Eustacia had dreamt always, that after their marriage she would be able to persuade Clym to return to Paris but all was in vain.

Mrs. Yeobright Decides to Contact Eustacia

      After Thomasin received the money, she wrote a note of thanks to her aunt. She was quite surprised at the huge amount of money but as she never knew any figure she took the whole money to be her own share. After a week or two Mrs. Yeobright was surprised at not receiving any acknowledgment from Clym. So she wanted to meet Eustacia who had just then come to meet her grandfather and ascertain from her about their receiving of the guineas. Christian Cantle, on the other hand, feeling that he should give out the secret confessed to Mrs. Yeobright of his losing the money in a game of gambling to Wildeve. Mrs. Yeobright still thought positively that Wildeve must have given Clym’s share to Eustacia and to get it confirmed went to meet Eustacia.

A Bitter Quarrel

      Mrs. Yeobright met Eustacia standing near the pool and asked her if she had received any money from Wildeve. Her question was perfectly clear but Eustacia completely misunderstood it, thinking that Mrs. Yeobright had come to accuse her of having a relationship with Wildeve. This misunderstanding led to a nasty quarrel between the two women.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter marks the crisis in the novel. Mrs. Yeobright finally decides to accept Eustacia as her daughter-in-law but the misunderstanding that leads to the quarrel constitutes a real misfortune. In the end, Mrs. Yeobright warns Eustacia that if she shows such a temper to Clym, she will have to pay heavily for it, as her son Clym is as gentle as a child, but can be as hard as steel if needed.

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