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An Ecocritical Interpretation of Thomas Hardy’s the Return of the Native

Author JiNaiYuan
Tutor WangLiZuo
School Harbin Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Thomas Hardy Novel of“Character and environment” Nature Ecocriticism
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Thomas Hardy was a well-known writer who began his writing career in the 1860s and continued steadily into the 20th century. He inherited and developed the literature tradition of Victorian period, and he was honored as the last greatest writer and poet of this period. Hardy gained his reputation from the Novels of“Character and Environment”, while The Return of the Native is the typical representation of this kind.This thesis elaborates Hardy’s ecological consciousness that embodied in his view on Nature from the description of the landscape in The Return of the Native. Then this thesis employs a new critical approach eco-criticism to interpret the novel, which is particularly appropriate to an examination of literature in the context of globally environmental predicament and arouse the modern people’s consciousness.This thesis is divided into six chapters:In chapter one, I briefly introduce Thomas Hardy and his works, as well as a brief literature review of The Return of the Native at home and abroad. Then come to the conclusion, it will receive great significance by the combination of the theory of ecological criticism and Hardy’s works.In chapter two, I introduce the theory of ecological criticism and Hardy’s ecological thoughts. Firstly, I mention the theory of eco-criticism from the emergence, development and definition, and then discuss Hardy’s ecological thoughts from his view on nature and the sources of his ecological thoughts, so as to combine them effectively.From chapter three to chapter five, applies the ecological criticism to analyze The Return of the Native from natural ecology, spiritual ecology and social ecology. Through this analysis, the conflicts between man and man, man and nature, and man and society became terrible by the invasion of the industrial civilization which reflects Hardy’s consideration of the relationship among nature, life and society.Chapter six mainly expounds the significance of ecocritical interpretation of the novel from realistic and literary aspects, which will help us understand the true characteristics and the full value of Hardy’s novel.The conclusion part summarizes and concludes this thesis. Nowadays, the global ecological crisis become more and more serious, so it is especially important to analyze Hardy’s works through the perspective of ecocriticism in literary research. Besides, it provides us with useful enlightenment on how to handle the relationship between man and nature, at the same time arouse the reader’s ecological consciousness.

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