Native Son Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Native Son: Book 2 Chapters 5-7

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Summary – Chapters Five, Six and Seven
The next evening the mummers assemble and wait for Charley. Eustacia comes in dressed in her outfit and says she is a cousin of Miss Vye. She explains she is taking his place as he is looking for the heath croppers (horses). She shows she knows the lines and the men are delighted with her.
They visit the Yeobright home and wait outside for the music to stop, but it keeps beginning again before they have chance to make themselves known. It becomes apparent the others know who she really is, but they agree to keep her secret. The music finally stops and they begin their play. When it is her turn to die, she does so in a sloping position and this gives her the opportunity to survey the room.
In Chapter Six, Eustacia sees Clym and is troubled by his presence. Mrs Yeobright invites the mummers to stay for supper after they finish and they accept. Eustacia can only drink as she wants to keep her face covered and one of the mummers explains that ‘he’ is only a youngster. She feels she is in love with Clym and this is mainly ‘because she was in desperate need of loving somebody after wearying of Wildeve’, and because she has willed it.
Thomasin comes down and she and Clym go into another room. At that moment, Eustacia feels wildly jealous. Clym returns and gazes at Eustacia. She looks away disconcerted as she feels conflicting sensations of ‘love, fear, and shame’. She goes outside and Clym joins her and asks if she is a woman. She says she is and that she does not want to be further recognized.
It is not until she reaches home that she remembers that she had arranged to meet Wildeve to give him his answer. She thinks of how if he had married Thomasin, Thomasin would not be with Clym now. She then goes indoors to her room.
The next morning, in Chapter Seven, Eustacia tells her grandfather that she performed in the mummers last night. He laughs and says how it would have pleased him 40 years ago. He also says she may walk on the heath night and day but does not want her wearing breeches again. She says he need have no fear of that.
She goes out on the heath and stops to talk to Venn. She has guessed correctly that he is Thomasin’s ‘other’ suitor and that Mrs Yeobright told Wildeve this to stimulate his desire. This is confirmed when she raises the subject with Venn. She tells him she now wishes to promote the marriage between Wildeve and Thomasin.
Venn’s unselfish love for Thomasin is made apparent again and he offers to take a note to Wildeve (for Eustacia) and return some things to him from her.
Venn gives Wildeve the letter and articles as he waits for Eustacia at Rainbarrow. The letter explains she is breaking off their acquaintance. When Wildeve has read it, he asks Venn why he has given him it as it was not in his interests to do so. Wildeve leaves determined to marry Thomasin and wring Eustacia’s heart.
As for Venn, since Eustacia told him that Mrs Yeobright has referred to him as another possible suitor, he feels a new vista open up for him; however, although the aunt’s view of him is promising he knows he has to give up this way of life. He puts on fresh clothes (which are not red) and decides to see Thomasin that day.
When he reaches her home, he sees a female form glide in and a man leave. It is Wildeve and he tells Venn he may as well go back as he has claimed her and got her. Venn’s heart sinks and he stands indecisively for a quarter of an hour and then knocks and asks for Mrs Yeobright. After ten minutes, he sadly retraces his steps. Back in his van, he changes back into his reddleman clothes.
Analysis – Chapters Five, Six and Seven
Eustacia’s romantic imagination and love of intrigue are further emphasized as she plays the part in the mummers in order to get closer to Clym, the returned native. She is described as having willed this love through the little she has heard of him and is also weary of loving Wildeve. This new man fits the role of lover in idealized terms, both because of his travels and work and because she is in love with the idea of being in love.
Conversely, Venn’s love for Thomasin is one of a generous spirit and is based on assumptions of her happiness. He is depicted as caring for her to the point that her interests, rather than his own, are central.


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