Critical Essays Point of View of The Return of the Native


Hardy's use of point of view is conventional for his time in literary history. It can be described as a third-person or omniscient point of view, which means that events can be viewed through the eyes of whatever character at the moment suits the author's purposes. Usually, though not always, such a person is one of the main characters, although within Hardy's lifetime, F. Scott Fitzgerald made a minor character the principal point of view in The Great Gatsby. Such a point of view is normally confusing to the reader only when it is shifted frequently in a short space, as, for example, in the melodramatic scenes in chapters 7-9 of Book Fifth.

Following the example of Henry James, a contemporary of Hardy's, modern novelists ordinarily use a more restricted point of view, in part because of the greater reality it lends to a work of fiction. Hardy himself was no innovator of fictional techniques.