008 . THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE . THOMAS HARDY
THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE
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‘The Return of the Native’ is one of Hardy’s most popular and highly regarded novels .
Venn is a reddleman; he travels the country supplying farmers with a red mineral called reddle that farmers use to mark their sheep. Although his trade has stained him red from head to foot, underneath his devilish colouring he is a handsome, shrewd, well-meaning young man.
The novel begins on the evening of Guy Fawkes Night as Diggory Venn is slowly crossing the heath with his van, which is being drawn by ponies. In his van is a passenger- a young woman named Thomasin Yeobright, whom Venn is taking home.
Earlier that day, Thomasin had planned to marry Damon Wildeve, a local innkeeper known for his fickleness; however, an inconsistency in the marriage licence delayed the marriage. Thomasin, in distress, ran after the reddleman’s van and asked him to take her home. Venn himself is in love with Thomasin, and unsuccessfully wooed her two years before. Now, although he believes Wildeve is unworthy of her love, he is so devoted to her that he is willing to help her secure the man of her choice ….