Ways of Reading

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Genre of Tragedy - What is it?

  • Normally resolving around a character who is brought to personal ruin through own actions and failings
  • Shakespeare coined the idea that the protagagonists could be ordinary people
  • Tragedy could befall people who committed wrong
  • Originally started with Greek Tragedy
  • The key to a tragedy is an ending
  • Lots of death and destruction
  • Most of the main characters at the end of The Return of the Native are dead  by the end
  • Clym isn't dead but is left in a miserable state
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Genre of Realism - What is it?

  • Also an influential literary movement
  • It was becoming increasingly popular at the time of Hardy's writing
  • Key traits include a concern with social conditions and lower class, lack of happiness, focus on money and even a concern with the natural world
  • Tries to depict life as it actually is, not how they wish it to be
  • Opposite of idealism
  • Also hints of naturalism - through lots of focus on fate and nature. Inescapable force of shaping human character
  • Broadly defined as 'the faithful representation of reality'.
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Genre of Romance - What is it?

  • Places a lot of focus on relationship and romantic love between 2 people
  • However it does not have 'an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending'.
  • It does reward those who are good and punish those who are evil
  • Hardy uses lots of romance to create constrast and irony with realist aspects
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Genre of Drama - What is it?

  • Usually meant that it is performed by actors on a stage
  • Intended to be more serious than humerous in tone
  • Keeps you on edge by foreboding hints of the future
  • Focus of story is human interaction
  • Human drama and socially conscious drama - focus on broader social issues
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Tragedy in The Return of the Native

  • Death of Eustacia and Wildeve at the end of the book
  • Mrs Yeobright's death
  • Clym's loss of eyesight
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Realism in The Return of the Native


  • Diggory Ven is an example of the struggles of the working class as a reddleman
  • Clym is very concerned about the social conditions and education in Egdon
  • Eustacia focuses on money and is obsessed with a life other than on egdon heath
  • Shows the harsh reality and consequences of going against society and the norms


  • Everything revolves around nature and egdon heath
  • The heath is in control and the fate of the lives of people who live there are controlled by it
  • Shows that those who leave are punished (Clym)
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Romance in The Return of the Native

  • Relationship between Thomasin and Wildeve
  • Wildeve and Eustacia
  • Eustacia and Clym
  • Diggory Venn and Thomasin
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Tragedy - Quotes

  • 'Towards evening, he arrived, and pronounced the disease to be acute inflammation induced by Clym's night studies'. (Clym's loss of eyesight)
  • - Build up of destruction. Perhaps foreshadowing further tragedy
  • - Left in a miserable state, perhaps punishment by nature for leaving the heath
  • 'It is all over said the Doctor. Mrs Yeobright is dead'. (Mrs Yeobrights Death)
  • Death partially Eustacia and Clym's fault
  • - More deaths building up to the proper tragedy at the end of the play
  • ' The insensible forms of poor Eustacia, Clym and Wildeve were then brought in and laid on the carpet'... 'Mrs Yeobright and Mr Wildeve are dead and cold. The doctor says they were quite gone before they got out of the water'. (Wildeve and Eustacia's deaths)
  • - Nature has claimed and punished those who hated the heath and who did wrong to other people
  • -Their death causes destruction to other people in the village too but also sets them free
  • Link to romance - they wanted to be together and now they can. Abides by typical tragedy
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Realism - Quotes

  • Much of Egdon Heath is very lower, working class and there is a big focus on this. Eustacia shows and contrast, as does Clym in a way as he breaks free of this
  • Eustacia is very concerned with money and only really marries Clym in the hope that they will return to Paris, when she discovers his intent to stay in Egdon her affections seem to dissolve


  • Massive focus on fate as the fates of the characters are in control of the heath
  • Wildeve: "Yes – by Heaven, I must go to her, I suppose!"
  • The heath is almost personified like a character of its own, it is a big feature
  • Relationship between nature and the characters
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