The Return of The Native: Book 2, Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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CHAPTER VII: A Coalition Between Beauty and Oddness


Captain Vye's Instruction to Eustacia

      Captain Vye never interrupted Eustacia's movements and so she was free as a bird to follow her own moods. But after this incident, the next morning Captain Vye inquired Eustacia about her staying in the heath till late night and also learned that she had played the role of the Turkish knight purely to get some excitement out of it. Though he enjoyed this idea of her grand-daughter's, he advised her not to repeat the same, afterward.

Eustacia's Avoidance of Wildeve

      The same day Eustacia happened to meet Diggory Venn on the Heath. They conversed with each other and from their conversation, Eustacia learned that the reddleman is not marrying Thomasin and concluded that Mrs. Yeobright had treated the reddleman's case merely to argue with Wildeve.

      Soon she found Wildeve approaching that spot from the other side. She at once hid herself in the reddleman's wagon. After Wildeve had disappeared the reddleman informed Eustacia that Wildeve had waited for her quite long the previous night at Rainbarrow. She showed her gladness on Wildeve's disappointment. She then told the reddleman that she was willing to promote the marriage of Wildeve and Thomasin instead of coming in their way which made Diggory utterly surprised. She further stated that she would not like to meet Wildeve ever in the future. Then Diggory expressed his feelings towards Thomasin and also said that he will help Thomasin in getting married to Wildeve and she liked him. Eustacia found the unselfish nature of the reddleman very surprising.

The Reddleman to be a Postman to Wildeve

      Diggory agreed to be the bearer of a letter which was penned down by Eustacia at that moment to Wildeve. She informed Wildeve that she had finally decided to end up her relationship with him. She also sent a small parcel with the reddleman containing a few articles of Wildeve given to her in the past which she wanted to return to him.

The Letter Puzzles Wildeve

      Diggory delivered the letter and the parcel to Wildeve at Rainbarrow where he was waiting for Eustacia at eight O'clock. After reading the letter Wildeve was puzzled and thought to himself that he probably deserved such treatment as he had played with the sentiments of both the women. But he could not make out why Diggory brought the letter himself which contained a news which ran counter to Diggor's own interests. If the reddlenian would not have delivered Eustacia's letter to Wildeve, he would not have turned to Thomasin at all and so Diggory would have got the chance to marry her. But now the tables had already turned. The reddleman inwardly resolved to meet Thomasin and try his luck for the last time.

Wildeve Ready to Many Thomasin

      Wildeve now felt that the only way he could save his position decently was by marrying Thomasin and once he would settle down with Thomasin, they would become the reason of Eustacia's jealousy. But it was unknown to Wildeve that another man had already captured the imagination of Eustacia.

The Reddleman's Disappointment

      The Reddleman somehow felt hopeful and dressed up in a respectful suit in order to make his proposal of marriage to Thomasin for the last time. But, to his utter disappointment, he saw Wildeve coming out of Mrs. Yeobright's house. He lost all hopes as it was obvious that Wildeve had already taken the consent of Mrs. Yeobright to marry Thomasin and Thomasin must be very glad at that moment. However, he met Mrs. Yeobright and a few minutes later painfully retreated to the heath as Mrs. Yeobright had confirmed his suspicion.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter reveals a lot of development in the plot. On one hand in this chapter Eustacia ditches Wildeve refusing to keep any relation with him through a letter. On the other hand the Reddleman is sheerly disappointed as Wildeve had shown him a new hope and he himself broke it into pieces. But we really admire the self-sacrifice of the reddleman and his unselfish love. In one or two situations of this chapter, we have a bit of comedy mixed with a hit of pathos.

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