The Return of the Native
Thomas Hardy

Basic Information about the Authuor:

  • born on June 2, 1840
  • English
  • published 14 novels and as many as 40 short stories
  • wrote his first book in his late twenties after giving up a life as an architect
  • died on January 11, 1928
  • for more information on the author, please visit:

Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy

Brief Summary of the Novel

  • tells the story of a confusing love tangle between five main characters: Diggory Venn, Thomasin Yeobright, Damon Wildeve, Clym Yeobright, and Eustacia Vye
  • Eustacia, a confident and wild-natured woman, dies in the novel's climax by drowning
  • the novel ends in the only stable relationship between Diggory and Thomasin

Location in The Catcher in the Rye

  • "Then I started wondering like a bastard what the one sitting next to me, that taught English, thought about, being a nun and all, when she read certain books for English. Books not necessarily with a lot of sexy stuff in them, but books with lovers and all in them. Take old Eustachian Vye, in The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. She wasn't too sexy or anything, but even so you can't help wondiering what a nun thinks about when she reads about old Eustacia" (page 110).
  • Holden references it as a "classical book" that he read and enjoyed (page 18)

Why was it included?

  • the novel was extremely controversial when it was published because it openly documented scandalous sexual relationships
    • Holden is both intrigued by the world of sex and scared of it, just as the general public was by the topic of this book
  • Eustacia is a bold woman who desperately wants to live a more adventure-filled life. She is also a misfit who is scorned by many for fear she is a witch.
    • Holden can relate to this longing to explore the world
    • Holden is also a loner who is does not fit in his community or society