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The Return of the Native

by Thomas Hardy

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What does the line "O Diggory Venn!" she said, "I thought 'twas you: will you help me? I am in trouble." from The Return of the Native mean?

Quick answer:

This line is spoken by Thomasin. It alludes to the fact that Wildeve did not marry her because of a problem with the marriage certificate. The line means that Venn is someone Thomasin can turn to and trust in a situation that has compromised her reputation.

Expert Answers

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This line is spoken by Thomasin. Although we don't know what happened when she speaks this line, it comes out later that her marriage to Damon Wildeve has not come off because of a problem about the marriage license.

We don't actually hear Thomasin say these words. Instead, Diggory Venn repeats them to Mrs. Yeobright, reporting to her what Thomasin said. Venn states that Thomasin caught up with him outside of Anglebury and spoke to him about being in trouble and needing help. According to Venn, Thomasin looked "white as death," and "fainted."

Venn took her and put her into his cart.

Thomasin is in a scandalous situation because she has spent time alone with a man she is now not married to, leaving her in a compromised state. When Thomasin runs into Venn, she is headed home. Her words show that she knows Venn and trusts him. She can turn to him for help in her troubles over getting married.

Later, it will turn out that, unlike Venn, Wildeve is not a trustworthy person. He doesn't tell the friends who come by to congratulate him on the wedding that it did not come off. We also find out in chapter five that he has an interest in Eustacia Vye.

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