The Return of The Native: Book 3, Chapter 3 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter III: The First Act in a Time-worn Drama


Clym Meets Eustacia

      The same evening Clym went to assist some men in Captain Vye's house who had been called by the Captain to take out a bucket which had fallen into the well. In course of this job Clym met Eustacia. He had a brief interaction with Eustacia then, who had got wounded for the second time that day while handling the rope which the men were using. Clym inquired about her wound in the church and whether it was serious or not. Eustacia just showed him the wound by drawing up her sleeve and Clym said that it was despicable of Susan to have pricked her so hard.

Eustacia Shows No Interest to Teach

      Clym then made Eustacia acquainted with his plans to start a school and asked for her help. But Eustacia refused because she was not keen to teach her fellow creatures whom she hated. But Clym urged her to listen to his explanation which would grow her interest and she will stop hating people. But Eustacia continued hating the Heath and showed her liking for a city like Paris. Clym, however, had made up his mind and said that Heath was most exhilarating, strengthening and soothing.

A Quarrel between Mother and Son

      When Clym informed his mother about his interaction with Eustacia in Mr. Vye’s house, Mrs. Yeobright seemed to be a bit troubled and said that how could Clym feel interested in a girl of Heath as he is accustomed to the attractive women of Paris. Mrs. Yeobright got more disturbed when she found on the next day that Clym had given Eustacia a vessel which he was supposed to give to his mother. Mrs. Yeobright not only disapproved Clym's plan of not going back to Paris but she also hated Clym's taking interest in Eustacia. There was a rift now between the mother and the son. After that most of the days they hardly interacted with each other. Mrs. Yeobright realized that Clym had first seen Eustacia and then planned his stay in the heath as an excuse to remain near her. Eventually, Clym quarreled with his mother and refused to hear his mother talking in that way about Eustacia.

Critical Analysis

      The story now takes a good turn where we see Clym and Eustacia getting closer to each other. We also see Mrs. Yeobright's prejudice against Eustacia and her disapproval of his son's interest towards the woman. This chapter also tells about Clym's plan to marry Eustacia who would help him in the school. But we readers are surprised to see how Clym could come to this conclusion when Eustacia has already expressed her hatred in teaching. Clym is either blindly in love with Eustacia or thinks of molding her mind to suit his purpose.

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