What is most obviously missing in The Return of the Native is Hardy’s previous analytical use of architectural structure. Plainly there are buildings in the novel: the Quiet Woman, Blooms-End, Captain Vye’s cottage, Eustacia and Clym’s cottage; but they are seen only in terms of their function as dwellings, not in terms of their architectural qualities or the code of meaning that such a presentation would imply. This omission might be seen as a statement that, while Hardy assumes the necessary existence of some form of structure in order to shelter the characters from the weather, or to contain them within a narrative, he does not presuppose that socio-economic structure (or for that matter narrative and perceptual structure) has any place on the heath. But this would be to reduce The Return of the Native’s counter-text to another self-cancelling overthrow.
KeywordsArchitectural Structure Classic Realist Railway Tunnel Marriage Contract Architectural Quality
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