Symbolic Significance of Egdon Heath in The Return of the Native
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The Return of the Native is one of Thomas Hardy’s “Novels of Character and Environment”. This paper mainly deals with the conflict between the main characters in the novel and the “Environment”—-Egdon Heath, especially the conflict between Eustacia and the Heath. The Heath as a physical object is described as “inviolate”, untouchable and unalterable by man, as a symbol it is highly flexible: it becomes what the various characters want to make of it. It is ugly for Eustacia, beautiful for Clym, comforting for Thomasin, and home for Venn. And it is described differently by the narrator at different times, depending on the perspective of the character being focused on. Besides, Egdon Heath itself is the oldest character. In The Return, Eustacia hates the Heath and wants to escape from it, Clym wants to change it; while Thomasin and Venn are faithful to it; but for Mrs. Yeobright, she neither loves it nor hates it, she is like a denizen. Whoever you are, if you want to rebel against the Heath, more or less, you will get punishment; on the contrary, you will be happy on the Heath. In brief, the paper chiefly reveals the theme: those who rebel against the nature will be lost.
[Key words]: Egdon Heath Character and Environment Symbolism Punishment
“The supreme poet of the English Landscape”1
This is the blurb on the back of a lavishly illustrated biography by Timothy Sullivan that tells us about Thomas Hardy. In the following the writer will explain this phrase. “Poet” here does not mean only “the writer of poetry”, it certainly also includes Hardy as a novelist. “The English Landscape” is equally indefinite, for Hardy’s work focuses almost exclusively on his native Dorset and its environs in other western country counties. However, “the English Landscape” here calls up a notion of a natural rural environment which is somehow quintessential “English”—a non-urban, non-industrial England which itself has mythic force in its implication of an ultimate and irreducible reality: an “essential England”.
But it is not even Dorset that Hardy’s work represents: it is “Wessex” —which Hardy himself in the General Preface to the Wessex Edition of 1912 ambiguously admits is a “fictitious” construction. He refers to “the horizons and landscapes of a partly real, partly dream country”, later he adds “the description of these backgrounds has been done from the real, that is to say, has something real for its basis, however illusively treated.”2 So “Wessex” is an imaginary area, a landscape of the mind, or we may say that Hardy “the poet” creates an English landscape—“Wessex”.
At his early age, Hardy had begun to realize the cruelty of Nature. And in all his life, he liked to talk of nature, the birds and the signs of the whether; he liked to ramble on about the village inns and the characters that frequented them. We can get confirmations from Albert Guerard and Katherine Anne Porte. Albert, a noted critic, speaks of Hardy as having “the tenderness of a Saint Francis toward children, animals and all unfortunates.”3 And Katherine says that Hardy was “painfully sensitive to what he believed to be a universal pervasiveness of needless misery for humans and animals.”3
This is Hardy who would always know and love the world of Wessex as nothing else; it presents for him the seemliness of an ordered existence, of all that is natural, rooted and tried; this is a Wessex where survives the memory of a life in which nature and society are at peace, where the past can be seen as embodying the sameness and continuity, the unifying rhymes, of a human existence that extends beneath or beyond the agitation of the historical process; and where “Nature” is not just background but a character, an “animate pressure”, “the source and repository of all energies that control human existence”. Hardy instinctively unities nature and man, making the external setting a kind of sharer in the human life
Thus the “Novels of Character and Environment”4 rapidly established positive commonplaces about Hardy’s work in his own lifetime. It’s worthy remembering that this is Hardy’s own classification of his novels according to their types and techniques employed, in contradistinction to others distinguished as “Romances and Fantasies”4 and “Novels of Ingenuity”.4 While Hardy’s “Novels of Character and Environment” can be defined like this: ” his description of ‘peasant life’ and his ‘Shakespearian’ rustic character; his creation of the myth of ‘Wessex’; his description and deployment of natural environment; his nostalgia for a passing of his tragedy, tragic characters and Fate (the dramas themselves have an elemental largeness which befits their background. They are tense and simple, like the dramas of Sophocles); and the ‘ universal’ significance of his characters and settings.”
Hardy’s great achievements as a novelist lie in his “Novels of Character and Environment”, which secure his momentous place in English literature. They are Under the Greenwood (1872), Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of D’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1896). His novels of this group almost always present the losing struggle of individual against the social pressure, which gradually strangle them to death. And in the Return of the Native (“The Return” for short used in the following), Hardy combined a basic appreciation of rural life and its attendant rustic personalities, with a study of the shoddy hopes and half-articulated ideals generated in that perilous ambiance of shabby gentility. In the very title—-as in the plot —- of The Return this interplay between the region and the world, which is the characteristic movement of Hardy’s fiction, is peculiarly exemplified. The Return is the first mature novel by Hardy, a splendid example of Hardy’s works with the relationship of character with natural environment.
The Return is one of the best known and most widely read of Hardy’s “Novels of Character and Environment”. The scene is the somber Egdon Heath, powerfully and symbolically presenting throughout the novel. Damon Wildeve, once an engineer but now a publican, dallies between two women by whom he is loved —the gentle Thomasin Yeobright and the wild, capricious Eustacia Vye. Thomasin rejects her humble suitor Diggory Venn, a reddleman, and is eventually married to Wildeve, who takes her less for love than from a wish to hurt Eustacia. The central character —“the native”—is Clym Yeobright, a diamond merchant in Paris. He disgusts with the worthlessness of his occupation and returns to Egdon Heath intending to become a schoolmaster in his native Heath. He falls in love with Eustacia Vye, who has come from the fashionable society and is tired of the simplicity of country life; in a brief infatuation she marries Clym, hoping to induce him to return to Paris, thus escaping from Egdon.
Their marriage from the outset is an unhappy one, for Mrs. Yeobright, Clym’s mother, opposes their marriage. To Eustacia’s despair, Clym will not return to Paris; and Clym’s sight fails and he becomes a furze-cutter on the Heath. At the same time, she becomes the cause of estrangement between Clym and his beloved mother, and unintentionally causes the mother’s death. The reason is that: one day Clym’s mother comes to see the young couple, meaning to seek some sort or reconciliation with Eustacia; but unluckily Eustacia fails to see her coming, and the old woman, finding herself repulsed at the door of her son and her daughter-in-law, goes away in great sorrow and dies on the way. This, together with the discovery that Eustacia’s relation with Wildeve have continued, leads to a violent scene between Clym and his wife, and ultimately to Eustacia’s flight with Wildeve, in the course of which both are drowned. Clym, blaming himself for the death of his mother and his wife, becomes a wandering preacher, and the widowed Thomasin marries Diggory Venn, who has always been devoted to her.
In this paper, the writer chiefly deals with the conflict between the “Environment”—Egdon Heath and the Characters, such as the conflict between Egdon Heath and Eustacia Vye, Egdon Heath as a friend of Clym Yeobright, the conflict between the Heath and Mrs. Yeobright, the harmony between Egdon Heath and Thomasin Yeobright & Diggory Venn.
A. Egdon Heath Itself as a Character
The Return opens with a chapter characterizing Egdon Heath. Throughout the novel, the rugged and unforgiving terrain of the Heath plays a crucial role, not just in shaping the culture and attitudes of the local peasants but also in motivating the main characters and even in shaping the outcomes of crucial events. The residents of the Heath might imagine themselves to have civilized their native terrain but in truth the Heath remains wild, with a character of its own that asserts its will over its human denizens.
Egdon Heath is characterized and personified. Hardy quite clearly wants us to think of the Heath as a character in the novel. The Heath is a complex symbol of alien and indifferent Native. For example, at night the Heath appears ” slowly to awake and listen”, 6 at twilight the Heath has a lonely face, suggesting tragic possibility.
Egdon Heath is a source of darkness and primitive forces; a vast tract of unenclosed wild, unchanged since the dawn of history: “Civilization was its [the Heath] enemy. Ever since the beginning of vegetation its soil had worn the same antique brown dress, the natural and invariable garment of the formation.”(Pp.5-6) Hardy used imagery of elemental nature to present the Heath, such as Blackbarrow7 (Egdon’s center), fire and water and so on.
Besides, Egdon Heath is not simply an image; it is also a most functional setting. The setting of the Return is Egdon Heath; its somber atmosphere prevails over the whole novel. It does not merely serve, as background for the tragic story, but in way has become an embodiment of the powerful and eternal force of the nature, which is antagonistic to all human attempts to intrude upon it. It is quite generally agreed that the Heath is as strong a character as any in the novel— probably the strongest. It is the unique force that touched and molds all lives. The whole novel is played on the Egdon Heath as on a stage, and the Heath, in its turns, plays upon all the characters, molding their lives by its pervasive influence.
Egdon Heath is more than the physical background to their [the characters in the Return] struggles and sorrows, though to describe it as a “character’. At the same time, the role of the Heath as a repository for the human past is constantly stressed: “In the Heath’s bareness to the farmer lay its fertility to the historian. There had been no obliteration, because there had been no tending.”(P.14) Even at present the forces, which the Heath represents, play their indifferent part, by arousing hatred in Eustacia and Wildeve, and devotion in Clym, Thomasin and Venn.
B. Egdon Heath Vs. Eustacia Vye
Eustacia Vye is a passionate woman caught in the web spun by the circumstance—Egdon Heath.
The qualities of the Heath are reflected and enhanced by those same qualities that exist in Eustacia. Both characters contain so many of the same characteristics and manners that could almost refer to as the same character, synonymous, one in the same.
Initially, the Heath’s dark and mysterious complexion draws comparison to the same dark and mysterious nature that is apparent in Eustacia: “The face of the Heath by its mere complexion added half-an-hour to eve; it could in like manner retard the dawn, sadden noon, anticipate the frowning of storms scarcely generated, and intensify the opacity of a moonless midnight to cause of shaking and dread.”(P.3) Similarly Eustacia is used to wandering around the Heath at night and the narrator calls her “the Queen of Night”(P.63): “when the whole Egdon conclave had left the site of the bonfire to its accustomed loneliness a closely-wrapped female figure approached the barrow from that quarter of the Heath in which the little fire lay”(P.50) and “she had Pagan eye’s full of nocturnal mysterious”(P.63).
As the novel plunges forward, Eustacia’s mind becomes a mysterious puzzle to the reader—a dark maze—and similarly the Heath itself becomes increasingly mysterious —a puzzle with winding roads, hidden paths, steep cliffs next to treacherous waters leading up to the arduous hills. Also, Eustacia displays particular habits of roaming the countryside late at night when all is still: “The solitary figure who walked this beat took notice of the windy tune still played on the dead Heath-bells.”(P.53) Similarly, the Heath only shows its true colors when it rises for the night: “The place became full of a watchful intentness now. When other things sank brooding to sleep the Heath appeared slowly to awake and listen.”(P.4)
However, the most intriguing and significant comparison drawn between Eustacia and the Heath is that they are both depicted as being extremely lonely. The word “single”, “lonely” and “monotony” are used multiple times to describe the Heath: “but, like man, slighted and enduring; and withal singularly colossal and mysterious in its swarthy monotony.”(P.5) Likewise, Eustacia is described as being lonely—her loneliness felt by the readers and echoed by the Heath: “Her extraordinary fixity, her conspicuous loneliness, her heedlessness of night, betokened among other things an utter absence of fear.”(P.50)
What’s more important is that Eustacia has become one part of Egdon Heath and the Heath also represents of Eustacia’s character:
“Such a perfect, delicate, and necessary finish did the figure give to the dark pile of hills that it seemed to be the only obvious justification of their outline. Without it there was the dome without the lantern: with it the architectural demands of the mass were satisfied. The scene was strangely homogeneous. The vale, the upland, the barrow, and the figure above it, all of these amounted only to unity. Looking at this or that member of the group was not observing a complete thing, but a fraction of a thing.
The form was so much like an organic part of the entire motionless structure that to see it move would have impressed the mind as a strange phenomenon. Immobility being the chief characteristic of that whole which the person formed portion of, the discontinuance of immobility in any quarter suggested confusion.”(Pp.11-12)
Thus it is impossible for Eustacia to escape from the Heath. It is because every trait that Eustacia dislikes about the Heath is a trait that she, herself, possesses. That Eustacia wants to escape from the Heath is that she wants to escape from the very characteristics that exist in her. The result is exceedingly apparent: Eustacia can’t go out of Egdon Heath. Just as she murmurs when she is meeting with Wildeve at the Blackbarrow: [The Heath] ” is my cross, my misery, and will be my death.”(P.82) Even though as Eustacia hates the Heath, she still seems, in her deep, brooding passion, to be a part of its wild nature: ” Egdon was her Hades, and since coming there she had imbibed much of what was dark in its Tone, though inwardly and eternally unreconciled thereto.”(P.64)
The Heath is in harmony with storm and wind because its profile is low—- Heather, fern, furze—offering no points of resistance. The tempest arouses Egdon, so when Eustacia goes through the storm of her last night alive towards a meeting with Wildeve, the most striking image of her final journey is purely visual yet deeply suggestive of an indifference on the part of the environment that amounts to a doom. “The gloom of the night was funereal; all nature seemed clothed in crape.” ” Skirting the pool, she followed the path forwards Blackbarrow, occasionally stumbling over twisted furze-roots, tufts of rushes, or oozing lumps of fleshy fungi, the rotting liver and lungs of some colossal animal. The moon and star were closed up by cloud and rain to the degree of extinction.”(P.357)
The Heath becomes in Eustacia’s mind most intensely her enemy. The narrator makes this point clearly in a contrast with Thomasin to whom “there were not, as to Eustacia, demons in the air, and malice in every bough and bush. The drops which lashed her face were not scorpions, but prosy rain.”(P.367)
To Eustacia, Egdon Heath is her prison, gloomy and lonely, which is excessively similar with Eustacia herself. To her there are “demons in the air” and “malice in every bush”. However, she still enjoys taking long walks late at night on the Heath. She is so fond of roaming at night that the narrator calls Eustacia “the Queen of Night”. If she would let herself go, she would relax into the drama of the Heath and she might feel at one with its moods. But Eustacia refuses to do this—she wants to escape from thee Heath; so it is her tragedy: drown in the pool at the weir on the Heath.
Eustacia hates Egdon Heath. What’s more, she finds herself instinctively in harmony with aspects of the Heath and this is against her will. And then this harmony fuels her conscious rebellion against Egdon Heath: she tries her best to escape from the Heath. Herein she gets her punishment: dead in the end.
C. Egdon Heath as a Friend of Clym
Exceedingly different from Eustacia, to Clym, the Heath holds friendliness and geniality. He gathers refreshment and inspiration from long walks on the Heath. ” If anyone knew the Heath well, it was Clym. He was permeated with its scenes with its substance, and with its odors. He might be said to be its product. … Take all the varying hates felt by Eustacia Vye towards the Heath, and translate them into loves, and you have the hearts of Clym. He gazed upon the wide prospect as he walked, and was glad.”(Pp.175-176)
Even when Clym loses his eyesight for reading, he finds solace on the Heath in the humble work of furze-cutting.” Clym was very grave at the intelligence, but not despairing. A quite firmness, and even cheerfulness took possession of him. He was not to be blind; that was enough.”(Pp.251-252) This time Clym becomes a furze-cutter. He becomes a representative example of the symbiosis on the Heath between man and nature, and the new concept of action redefines Clym’s quest as the attempt of fallen man to re-establish harmony with Nature. Clym takes his first step towards Paradise regained when Clym almost becoming a fragment of it. “He appeared of a russet hue, not more distinguishable from the scene around him than the green caterpillar from the leaf it feeds on.” “The silent being [Clym] who thus occupied himself seemed to be of no more account in life than an insect. He appeared as a mere parasite of the Heath.”(Pp.278-279)
Clym wants to change Egdon Heath: reform the traditional way of life—“to teach them [the poor and ignorant (Heath rustic) what nobody else will”(P.177), then he is punished for his presumption to be symbolically blind. Despite of the Heath’s punishment, Clym still gets happiness from the Heath in his misfortune, for Clym yields his nature to the nature of the Heath.
D. The Heath Vs. Mrs. Yeobright
To Mrs. Yeobright, Clym’s mother, the Heath is her sadness. “She herself was a curate’s daughter who had once dreamt of doing better things”, but she married a small farmer on the Heath and her husband died when their son was still young. What’s more, when her son, Clym, grows up, Mrs. Yeobright is very proud of her successful son, a diamond merchant in Paris. Mrs. Yeobright also is a respected widow on the Heath, for she has “something of an estranged mien: the solitude exhaled from the Heath was concentrated in this face that had risen from it.” Mrs. Yeobright seems a denizen and she just does so: ” The air with she looked at the Heath men betokened a certain unconcern at their presence, or at what might be their opinions of her for walking in that lonely spot at such an hour, thus indirectly implying that in some respect or other they were not up to her level.”(P.30)
However it is a great blow to her when she knows that her son comes home to live as a teacher. She is further crushed that her son, Clym, marries Eustacia Vye who Mrs. Yeobright does not think well of. Yet she has a kind heart for those she cares for. Thus she goes to see the newly wedded couple on a scorching August day, meaning to reconcile with Eustacia, however she is bitten to death by an adder.
Her journey across the Heath to her death builds up to complex poetic image of her confrontation by the ultimate reality of the cosmos which civilization does not cope with. Its absurdity and hostility to purposes are demonstrated in the action of the closed door. Poetically, they are embodied in the merciless sun and the parched obstructive earth she has to cross, might be symbols of the elemental conflict between Clym and Eustacia which destroys her in its working out.
The description of a natural phenomenon assumes a penetrating symbolic force occurs on the way home from the house of Clym and Eustacia. She is exhausted and in mental anguish because she imagines that her son Clym has rejected her and lies down on the Heath in the evening. “While she looked a heron on the Heath arose from that side of the sky and flew on with his face towards the sin. He had come dripping wet from some pool in the valleys, and as he flew the edges and lining of his wings, his thighs, and his breast were so caught by the bright sunbeams that he appeared as if formed of burnished silver up in the zenith where he was seemed a free and happy place, away from all contact the earthly ball to which she was pinioned; …”(P.291) This measures that Mrs. Yeobright’s human effort is objectively against the lowly species of the Heath, and busy in all the fullness of life and indifferent to her prostration. At the same time, here the winging “heron”, like “burnished silver” in “the bright sunbeams”, expresses Mrs. Yeobright’s wish to be released from life, for her son, she thinks, has rejected her and there is nothing for her to be unwilling to leave. She is exhausted not only physically also mentally, so she cannot endure more when the Heath deals her a deathblow—- an adder bites her on a scorching day.
Mrs. Yeobright like Eustacia Vye cannot evade the disaster of the Heath (She is bitten by an adder and does not get an immediate cure, and then dies.). That is because Mrs. Yeobright wishes that she could have a better life out of the Heath at her youth and wishes her son not settle to end his life in the place where he was born, and her effort is against the Nature. All these are equally a rejection of the traditional way of life on the Egdon Heath. She rebels against the verity represented by the Heath, and then she involves herself in tragedy.
E. Egdon Heath and Thomasin & Venn
Thomasin Yeobright and Diggory Venn can be grouped together to reflect the passive and active principle of acquiescence in human condition that is Egdon.
Thomasin has no awkward ideas about doing well to thrust her out of her environment—the Heath. The sunlight ritual of braiding her hair on the wedding day stresses her adherence to the traditional ordering of birth, marriage, children and death, one of the few ambitions that tally with the Egdon rate of progress.
To Thomasin, the Heath is a “ridiculous old place”, a nice wild place to walk in and live in, for she has “got used to it”, and she can’t “be happy anywhere else at all”(P.400). And Egdon Heath is a place where her baby can play on the soft green turf besides the Roman Road:
“Next day she went her ways a usual, and continued her custom of walking in the Heath with no other companion than little Eustacia [her daughter], now of the age when it is a matter of doubt with such characters whether they are intended to walk through the world on their hands or on their foot; and hence they get into painful complications by trying both. It was very pleasant to Thomasin, when she had carried the child to some lonely place, to give her a little private practice on the green turf and shepherd’s thyme, which formed a soft mat to fall headlong upon when equilibrium was lost.”(P.395)
Thomasin is very matter-of-fact about the Heath. The Heath is a place she is used to and cannot be happy without. Benevolent sunshine is her natural form of light, even if on the night of storm and chaos, which is a perfect complement to the chaos within Eustacia. Thomasin’s sense of proportion and lack of that pride which demands a personal antagonist preserves her from harm. A storm does not mean “demons” and “malice” to her, it means possibly catching a cold: “Yet in spite of all this Thomasin was not sorry that she had started. To her there ere not, … demons in the air, and malice in every bush and bough. …Egdon in the mass was no monster whatever, but impersonal open ground. Her fears of the place were rational, her dislikes of its worst mood reasonable. At which a person might experience much discomfort, lose the path without care and possibly catch cold.”(Pp.367-368)
Similarly, the Heath, to Diggory Venn, is a matter-of -fact place, too. He hardly thinks of it; he lives in it; he uses the Heath ponies to help in his work. He finds the Heath a roomy place where he can be near to help Thomasin—his devoted lover— without bothering her. He uses the Heath as a friend to help further his schemes. For example, he takes advantage of the piled up turfs to conceal himself so that he might move nearer to eavesdrop on Wildeve and Eustacia:
“Near him, as in divers places about the Heath, were areas strewn with large turves. … He took two of these as he lay, and dragged them over his till one covered his head and shoulder, the other his back and legs. The reddleman [Diggory Venn] would now have been quite invisible, even by daylight: the turves, standing upon him with the Heather upward, looked precisely as if they were growing. …”(P.78)
In addition, throughout most of the novel, Venn works as a semi-nomadic “reddleman”: he travels throughout the region selling the dye that farmers use to mark their sheep. As a consequence of this exposure to the dye, his entire body and everything he owns are dyed red. Entirely red, camping out in the Heath in his wagon, and emerging mysteriously from time to time. Venn functions as an image of the Heath incarnated.
Diggory Venn, acquiescing in human limitations while working at the same time with the grain of his environment, has a link with darkness and with fire that is ambiguous. Besides, action depends on intimate knowledge of the Heath, such as Venn uses his camouflage of turves to eavesdrop on the plans of Eustacia and Wildeve, his familiarity with Weir enables him to devise a plans of rescue; his triumph is due to the light of human intelligence controlling events, such as his sudden appearances and disappearances, his color, his devil’s luck in gambling. The ambiguity in the reddleman’s character mirrors the ambiguity of the cosmos—the time on Egdon Heath.
Thomasin Yeobright and Diggory Venn both remain faithful to the rustic world—Egdon Heath—into which they were born, and it is they who are preserved for happiness without punishment.
“Everything, even in fiction, has to happen somewhere; but there is no place more remarkable in the rich history of the Victorian novel than Egdon Heath.”8 The Heath is not only a vividly evoked environment, it also contains an energy which is felt by all those who dwell on it, an energy with the power to change the natures of those who are at all receptive to it.
So is the equally characteristic in version by which the particular symbolizes the universal, through the analysis of the conflict between the
main characters and Egdon Heath and I induce that those who buck against nature lose out. That is to say, remain quiet within the convention and you will be good, safe and happy in the long run, though you never have the vivid distress of sympathy [like Thomasin Yeobright and Diggory Venn]; or, on the other hand, if you are passionate, individual and willful, you will escape, and you will die, either of your own lack of strength to bear the isolation and the exposure, or by direct revenge from the community—Egdon Heath, or from both [Clym Yeobright, Eustacia Vye, Mrs. Yeobright and Damon Wildeve].
Hardy filled his mind with Darwinian thought—-“a sense of Nature’s ‘passioned plans for bloom and beauty marred'” .9In his “Novels of Character and Environment”, from The Return of the Native to Jude the Obscure, can be taken as exemplification of this viewpoint, he induced to the level where “Environment” manifest the “Character”. In The Return of the Native, I mainly expose that Characters who rebel against the Environment (Egdon Heath), more or less, will be punished.
1.Peter Widdowson. Hardy in History: A Study in Literary Society, P. 55.
2.General Preface to the Wessex Edition of 1912, (Great Britain: Hazell Watson &Viney Ltd., 1978).
3.Charles Leavitt. Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native, (Foreign Language Teaching & Research Press, Simon &Schuster International Press Co., 1997), P.2.
4.General Preface s to the Wessex Edition of 1912, (Great Britain: Hazell Watson &Viney Ltd., 1978).
5.Peter Widdowson. Hardy in History: A Study in Literary Society, P.16.
6.Thomas Hardy. The Return of the Native, (Foreign Language Teaching &
Research Press, 1994), P.4. The following citations from the same edition will be marked with pagination in the parentheses in the paper.
7.Blackbarrow (of 1878Edition, it also called Rainbarrow in 1895 Edition):a mound of earth or stones built over graves by the Celts, early settles of England.
8.George Woodcock. Introduction to The Return of the Native, (Great Britain: Hazell Watson &Viney Ltd., 1978), P.ⅹⅳ.
9. F.B. Pinion. A Hardy Companion— A guide to the works of Thomas Hardy and their background, (The Macmillan Press Ltd., 1968), P.165.
Clarlle, Gralam. ed. Thomas Hardy: Critical Assessment (Volume IV), Helm Information Ltd., 1993.
Hands, Timothy. Thomas Hardy, 1995.
Howard, Maureen C. The Return of the Native Examined, http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1981/2/81.02.03.x.html
Hu, Yintong. ed. A Course in English Literature , Nankai University Press, 1992.
Leavitt, Charles. Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native, Foreign Language Teaching & Research Press, Simon &Schuster International Press Co., 1997.
Pinion, F.B. A Hardy Companion— A guide to the works of Thomas Hardy and their Background, The Macmillan Press Ltd., 1968.
Springer, Marlene. Hardy’s Use of Allusion, The Macmillan Press Ltd., 1983.
Widdowson, Peter. Hardy in History: A Study in Literary Society.
Woodcock, George. Introduction to The Return of the Native, Great Britain: Hazell Watson &Viney Ltd., 1978