Native Son Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Native Son: Book 3 Chapters 4-6

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Summary – Chapters Four, Five and Six
The next day Clym does little work and later walks to Rainbarrow saying he is going to see the eclipse of the moon. This is the first time he has been frank to his mother about where he is going whilst also concealing it. When Eustacia appears, they go to each other’s arms and kiss.
She tells him she has loved another, but thinks it will end between her and Clym with his mother influencing him against her. He tries to reassure her and says he does not want to let her go. He wants her to be his wife and she responds as such: ‘Cynics say that cures the anxiety by curing love.’ She tells him she must think and then asks him to speak of Paris to her. He does and then returns to the subject of marriage and she asks about Versailles. She asks if he will go back to Paris and if he does she will give him her promise. He says it is extraordinary that she and his mother are of one mind about this and asks her again. She tells him he will never adhere to his educational plans and that will be alright for her, and promises to be his.
He sees that their tastes rarely coincide and she says although she would love to live in Paris with him, she would rather live in a hermitage with him than not at all. On his way home, he recognizes the complications and antagonisms he has to juggle: his mother’s trust, his ambition, and Eustacia’s happiness.
In Chapter Five, Mrs Yeobright comes home one afternoon and says mournfully to Clym that the Captain has let it be known that Clym and Eustacia are engaged to be married. She supposes he will return to Paris and he tells her he still intends to keep a school in Budmouth.
They argue and she questions Eustacia’s background and presumes she has had an earlier association with Wildeve. He says he knows about this and accuses his mother of trying to thwart his wishes. He walks to the spot where he promised Eustacia he would bring his mother to meet her.
Eustacia says how his mother will judge him and does not want to lose him. He says they will marry at once and live in a small cottage until they can take a house in Budmouth. She asks how long they will live in isolation and he says six months. She says her grandfather will agree to it if it is no more than that and they fix the marriage date for a fortnight’s time.
The next morning in Chapter Six, Clym secures a secluded house for them and plans to move in alone until Eustacia can join him. That evening and the following morning he arranges his departure. He says goodbye to his mother and also tells her the date of the wedding and asks her to come and see them. She answers that she does not think it is likely and he kisses her goodbye.
After he leaves, they are both in misery and it is a relief when Thomasin pays Mrs Yeobright a visit. Thomasin explains that she needs a little money, but does not like to ask Wildeve. She mentioned it to him last week but he seems not to have remembered. Her aunt says she must make him remember and then tells her that her uncle left her and Clym some money. Thomasin says she would like her share now, but agrees to ask Wildeve again first.
The conversation then turns to Clym and Thomasin tries to soothe her aunt. Mrs Yeobright says she is sure Eustacia led Wildeve to act as he did and Thomasin denies this and says it was a flirtation before he knew her. Thomasin visits her aunt every day for a week, but she still has not addressed her husband about money which Mrs Yeobright insists she should do before she gives her the money from her uncle.
The narrative shifts to Wildeve and how he hears that Eustacia is to be married. He is described as ‘the Rousseau of Egdon’ by the narrator, as we are told that he yearns for the difficult and remote, and dislikes ‘the near’.
Analysis – Chapters Four, Five and Six
The forthcoming marriage between Clym and Eustacia is depicted as fraught with obstacles before it comes about. In terms of romantic love, obstacles are required to make the love all the more poignant. As Eustacia’s romantic imagination has previously been referred to by her grandfather, the depiction of her remains consistent as she consents to marry Clym despite knowing the obstacles and their contrasting views on how they will live their lives. When he proposes, for example, her idealized view of Paris is emphasized while Clym continues to state that they will be moving to Budmouth only. It is in keeping with her love for love that she accepts his proposal even though she is aware that he plans to be a schoolmaster rather than the diamond merchant he once was.


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