Symbolism in The Return of the Native
Hardy uses a number of symbols in the novel: Egdon Heath, Rainbarrow, the moon, Paris, gambling, physical impairment (eyesight), a storm, water are those singled out for comment. Many of these are aspects of the setting. Like any symbol, these are both facts and representatives of certain meanings or significance. Symbols are appropriate to a work of fiction if they can be both at the same time. They are successful if they enable an author to convey meaning without forcing it. Most of the above symbols are appropriate and successful; those which are not are connected with the melodramatic scenes at the end of Book Fifth. Symbols are useful guidelines that can help to demonstrate an author's theme.