Native Son Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Book 5 Chapters 4-6

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Summary – Chapters Four, Five and Six
At first, Eustacia is vague in the direction she takes but at length heads towards her grandfather’s house. It is locked up when she gets there and she is told by Charley that he will not return until evening time. Charley sees that she is distressed and asks if he can help. He climbs in a window and opens the door for her. He then lights a fire and brings her tea and toast.
She goes to her room and looks in her grandfather’s too and sees two pistols there: ‘Eustacia regarded them long, as if they were the page of a book in which she read a new and strange matter.’ She comes downstairs quickly as though she is afraid of herself. The idea is then fixed and she goes back up only to see the pistols have gone. She asks Charley if he has taken them and he says he did as he saw her looking at them for ‘too long’. He also says he cares too much for her to give them up. He adds that he will not mention it if she promises not to think of it again and she agrees to this.
When her grandfather returns, she asks if her old room can be made up and does so without questioning why.
In Chapter Five, Charley assumes the responsibility of a guardian over Eustacia and also hopes she remains there too. He tries to distract her thoughts by bringing in objects from the heath.
A week passes and Eustacia happens to look through her grandfather’s spy-glass and sees a wagon piled with her furniture. Her grandfather tells her the rumour that Clym is moving from Alderworth to Blooms-End.
On the 5th November, she sees two women and one is carrying a baby. Charley tells her the one carrying the child is Thomasin and the other is the nurse-girl.
Charley knows that for the last two years Eustacia has lit a bonfire and aims to surprise her by building another this year. He has it lit and burning for half an hour until he tells her about it. At first, she is listless and she then comes outside and tells him to extinguish it. He says it will soon burn down and he leaves her alone.
She then hears a splash of a stone in the pond. She had thought of this possibility, but had not expected it yet. She struggles with the desire to stay and go, and remains motionless. After the second splash, Wildeve comes before her. She tells him quickly that she did not light it and breaks into tears when he says she has been pushed too far.
He asks her to forgive him for the harm he has done her and says he sees more and more that he has been her ruin. She blames the place, but he says he should have done more or nothing at all (either not hunted her out, or if he did he should have persisted more). He asks if there is anything to do to help her now that he is rich. She points out that they are both married and he promises not to tell anyone if she accepts his help. She then asks if he will take her to Budmouth, and she can reach Paris on her own. He asks if he shall go with her and she remains silent. She then tells him she will signal him some evening at 8 o’clock punctually and he must have a trap ready for her at midnight (to go to Budmouth). He agrees to look out for the signal every night.
Clym is established in Blooms-End in Chapter Six and hopes Eustacia will return to him. Up to this time, he has preserved his resolve to not invite her back. He has come to think it was an indiscreet friendship with Wildeve as he saw no signs of her dishonor.
On the 5th November, he decides to go to see Thomasin and her husband. He plans to mention the man who was in his home with Eustacia and wants to see how he will react. When he gets there, Wildeve is out at Eustacia’s bonfire. Clym tells Thomasin he has left Eustacia and why but does not mention Wildeve. She says they should try to be reconciled and he replies that he will in two days if Eustacia has not contacted him. When he gets home, he writes to Eustacia and explains he wants her back.
At Thomasin’s home, it is revealed that she is suspicious of his involvement with Eustacia and on his return she asks where he has been. She also points out that he goes about so gloomily as though the heath is a gaol ‘instead of a nice wild place to walk in’. He is surprised she likes it and she says the only unpleasant thing is when he does not take her when he walks there. She also asks why he does this so much if he does not like it. He denies this, but she says how she followed him part of the way tonight and watched him on his walk. He is angry and she tells him this is all she saw. She then refers to the hints that he used to be very fond of Eustacia. She begins to cry and agrees they will not talk more on the matter.
Analysis – Chapters Four, Five and Six
The contrast between Eustacia and Clym is paralleled in the differences between Wildeve and Thomasin and this is highlighted when he comes to understand that she loves the heath, whereas it is imprisoning for him. Both Eustacia and Wildeve feel desolate in this isolated place and it is as though the geography impinges on their ideas of freedom. This reflects both their passionate, quixotic ideas of love and their dreams of sophistication. 


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