Thomas Hardy feels that Edgon Heath, the setting of the novel The Return of the
Native is a powerful, scary, dark and dreary place. He uses various techniques
to express this attitude. Some of the techniques he used to convey this thought
are diction, imagery, syntax, and tone.
The diction he choose was specific and
concrete, presenting an actual place that was depressing. The words he used
attempted to present a specific, concrete perception of things. Such as when he
writes, “approaching the time of twilight and the vast tract of unenclosed ild
known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment”. This presents a
specific place, time and a specific insight which leaves with the thought of a
darkening, scary place.
Imagery played a very important role in Hardings
portrayal of the heath as a powerful, scary, live place. The imagery develops a
light and dark imagery. The heath, earth is the dark and gloomy image, while the
surrounding nature is light and good. He refers to the heaths color as,
“embrowned itself moment by moment,” and says that the “hollow stretch of
whitish cloud shutting over the sky.
” He refers to the heath as dark on many
occasions, he says the “earth with the darkest vegetation… In such contrast
the heath wore the appearance of an installment of night.
.. darkness had to a
great extent arrived hereon..
. the heath exhaling darkness.” These references
of the heath as dark, give us a gloomy, somber feel of the heath. Harding also
uses metaphors to make us aware of the power and life that Edgon Heath has.
in when he says “the face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an
hour to evening… the place became full of a watchful intentness now: for when
other things sank brooding to a sleep the heath appeared slowly to awake and
” These metaphors and personifications allow us to see that the heath
is more than a hunk of dirt, it has a life and energy. Syntax is also used to
enhance the power of the heath. Harding uses a combination of medium length and
long and involved length sentences. These lengths enhance the feeling of power
that Harding wants to express, because they are lengthy and have a body.
arent short and quick, each sentence says what it has to say and delivers it.
These sentence exemplifies the strength and ability that the heath has. The
sentence length is effective because each sentence allows Harding to go into
detail about a specific detail about the heath, such as the power and strength
it has. Harding also used more than 6 compound sentences in the description of
This is so he can elaborate on a specific characteristic of the
heath, as in “The face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an hour
to evening: it could in like manner retard the dawn, sadden noon, anticipate the
frowning of storms scarcely generated, and intensify the opacity of a moonless
night to a cause of shaking and dread….
” Harding also used it to compare the
heath as in, “Looking upwards, a furze- cutter would have been inclined to
continue work; looking down, he would have decided to finish his faggot and go
home. The tone of the description of the heath is morose, somber and gloomy. In
the description, Harding only describes the heath as dark and scary. He chooses
to illustrate these things and gives the story a morose feeling.
His somber and
gloomy tone is reflected in his attitude toward the heath. The tone makes the
heath appear seem scarier and more powerful. Thomas Hardy delivers a powerful
and firm attitude towards Edgon Heath. He feels that it is a dark, scary and
He uses and combines various literary techniques in order to
achieve his goal of convey his feelings towards the heath to his readers.