Native Son Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Native Son: Book 4 Chapters 7-8

Average Overall Rating: 4.5
Total Votes: 260

Summary – Chapters Seven and Eight
The narrative switches back to Clym as he wakes up and tells Eustacia he has been dreaming about his mother. In the dream, he took Eustacia to her house, but they could not get in even though she was crying for them to help. He then mentions how he expected his mother to visit by now and Eustacia is faced with a ‘monstrous difficulty’ and resolves to be free of it by ‘postponement’.
He decides to walk to Blooms-End alone later when it will be cooler and wonders whether Thomasin has been lately. He goes on to doubt this as he knows she is expecting to be confined in a month or so. Eustacia says she does not want him to go tonight and if he stays home she will go alone tomorrow. He asks why she is offering to do this now when she has always refused before. She says she cannot explain further, and he sticks to his original plan.
He sets off and three miles into his journey he smells a familiar scent and stands for a moment to inhale it. It is the place where four hours earlier his mother had sat down exhausted. As he stands there he hears a sound between breathing and moaning. He then sees a figure and realizes it is his mother and an anguished cry dies on his lips. In that moment, the rift is forgotten and he lifts her up. He proceeds like Aeneas with his father. They approach a hut and he leaves her there as he runs to Fairway’s home for help. He returns with him and other neighbors and a boy is sent to tell the medical man and Thomasin about what has happened.
Mrs Yeobright is given brandy and she becomes conscious enough to let them know there is something wrong with her foot. It transpires that she has been bitten by an adder and Sam says the fat of other adders is needed to rub on the wound. He finds one and already knows of two others and these are fried and applied to it. It is Clym who dabs the oil on the bite mark.
The narrative shifts back to Eustacia in Chapter Eight and when Clym has been gone for an hour she decides to head for Blooms-End in the hope of meeting him on his way back. At the gate, her grandfather comes up in his cart and he tells her that Wildeve has come into a fortune of £11,000 on the death of his uncle. She asks how long Wildeve has known this and he tells her since early this morning. He then calls her a fool for not sticking with him.
After he leaves, she goes on her way mechanically and thinks of Wildeve, his money and his appearance at her house earlier. She thinks of how he did not crow about the money and instead implied he still loved her. She sits down on a stone and is disturbed by Wildeve who asks which way she is walking.
As they talk, he says he thought of Clym as the richer one in having her and she asks if he would exchange his fortune with him for her. He says he would. He tells her he is to invest £9,000, keep £1,000 as ready money and travel with the remainder. He plans to travel extensively and wants to begin and end with Paris. They talk a little more and carry on walking and she asks him to go with her as far as the hovel where a light can be seen.
When she realizes who is in there, she asks him to find out what has happened. They then both listen and hear about Mrs Yeobright’s long walk, her exhaustion and the adder bite. After this, it is declared that she has died. Johnny Nonsuch appears and tells them he saw this woman walking earlier and repeats how she said she was cast off by her son. Eustacia considers going in when she hears Clym, but then decides against it. Eustacia and Wildeve leave and go in different directions.
Analysis – Chapters Seven and Eight
The bond between mother and son is emphasized when Clym wakes from the dream about his mother crying for help. The rift between them is described as healed when he finds her on the heath and picks her up to take her home. The connection between them is highlighted as the contrast between Clym and Eustacia is sharpened. She remains silent rather than let him know of his mother’s call to the house earlier and this decision condemns her into looking guilty by omission.


Quotes: Search by Author