chapter  3
26 Pages

On Being Un/reasonable: Mansfi eld Park and the Limits of Persuasion

Anticipating the theories of French sociologist Gaston Bouthoul, Thomas Hardy's narrative uncovers the connections between language employment and cultural survivals or aspects of mentalite. For him such thought patterns or mentalite are part of the cultural identity of an individual from the very beginning of his life within a given community. If the theory of mentalite holds, the Native can never sever the bonds that connect him to the inhabitants of Egdon Heath, into whose society he was born. The imprint of his cultural heritage can never be erased. In the act of accusing a Eustacia Vye, Clym Yeobright recreates or strengthens a connection, and this movement of his thought finds no hindrance in the form of a modern moral principle of fairness. Hardy's well-structured plot Eustacia Vye is the object of two acts of cruelty separated in time by an interlude in which love but also misinterpretations are generated.