Hey, I would like to know your opinion if the novel "The Return of the Native" by Thomas Hardy is more a piece of Realism or Romanticism (or a mixture). I really struggle to find a clear argumentation, so thanks for your help:)
Great question and I am glad you put it in the discussion postings! I wouldn't want to answer it without other people being able to contribute! Well, in my opinion this novel presents us with a mix. Certainly the harshness of Hardy's fiction and the tragic ending of this novel points towards a kind of realism that is difficult to ignore. Yet, on the other hand, the idea of rejecting society and living in nature is clearly Romantic. However, with the blindness of the central male character and the suicide of the central female character, it is hard to ignore the fact that, in Hardy's world, realism wins at the end of the day.
Thomas Hardy is drawn to stories of disappointment and failure. Hardy embraces tragedy in all of its realism. His major novels end unhappily, often with the destruction of the main character, leaving us with no sense of poetic justice. Closely connected to Hardy’s tragic sensibility is his view of nature. At times, Hardy encourages us to think of nature as benevolent, a source of consolation and redemption. At other times, he reverses course, presenting nature as malevolent and cruel.