The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for July 4th, 2011

Good Read – The Return of the Native

leave a comment »

The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy

Buy this book on Amazon
(Your purchase supports WKMS!)

Product Description:

One of Thomas Hardy’s most powerful works, The Return of the Native centers famously on Egdon Heath, the wild, haunted Wessex moor that D. H. Lawrence called “the real stuff of tragedy.” The heath’s changing face mirrors the fortunes of the farmers, inn-keepers, sons, mothers, and lovers who populate the novel. The “native” is Clym Yeobright, who comes home from a cosmopolitan life in Paris. He; his cousin Thomasin; her fiancé, Damon Wildeve; and the willful Eustacia Vye are the protagonists in a tale of doomed love, passion, alienation, and melancholy as Hardy brilliantly explores that theme so familiar throughout his fiction: the diabolical role of chance in determining the course of a life.

Kate Lochte says:

In February the National Symphony Orchestra performed Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe in the Carson Center in Paducah.  Its thrilling layered themes were enchanting.  Music for a ballet that debuted in Paris in 1912, the Ravel made me think the Hardy novel, Return of the Native.

Returning to the book, it was wonderful to come upon Hardy’s chapter “The Figure Against the Sky” when the tragic heroine of the book is listening to the wind on Egdon Heath (the wild setting of the intensely romantic tale):  “Part of its tone was quite special; what was heard there could be heard nowhere else.  Gusts in innumerable series followed each other from the northwest, and when each one of them raced past the sound of its progress resolved into three.  Treble, tenor, and bass notes were to be found therein.  The general ricochet of the whole over pits and prominences had the gravest pitch of the chime.  Next there could be heard the baritone buzz of a holly tree…” Ravel’s composition evokes the complicated music of the world turning as well.

Return of the Native’s main characters are either deeply at home on the Heath or yearning to escape its hold.  That’s the conflict as much as the unwise decisions about marriages less motivated by genuine affection than by desire to mate in one’s own class or above it, but certainly not below it.  Hardy’s love of descriptive prose clothes these simple plot lines in the beautiful dark finery of the natural setting.

If you enjoy being carried away into the wildness of the world and the human heart, this book might just be a good read for you, too.

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Datebook: July 4 – Independence Day

leave a comment »

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826. James Monroe died on July 4th 1831. Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4th, 1872.

It’s Monday, the 4th of July

Mayfield’s Glory Days Festival Car Show continues downtown today. Activities starting at seven this evening at the Mayfield High School Track Area include a watermelon bust, dog show, The Diamonds in Concert and Fireworks.

LBL’s Homeplace offers Independence Day activities 1 to 4 today as does The Nature Station. See

Paducah’s July 4 Celebration features the Kentucky National Guard’s award-winning 202nd Army Band culminating its two-week concert series in our region. Hear its jazz combo opening a show at the Riverfront’s Wilson Stage at 6:30. The Paducah Community and Concert Band begins at 8. There are fireworks at 9:15. The Kentucky Avenue boat ramp will be unavailable from 5 p.m. until after the fireworks. Noble Park Pool is open noon to 6 today.

Madisonville’s 4th Fest continues at City Park today with children’s activities, the Chamber beer garden, a concert by the Jimmy Church Band and fireworks.

Take care and enjoy the holiday. See community events at for what’s happening around here.

the morning cram [Bizarro Stanford Prison edition]

leave a comment »

The ‘evil scientist’ who gave us the Stanford Prison experiment wants to change his legacy.

NPR reports Philip Zimbardo, the scientist known most for his prison experiment, is attempting to show that humans can be made into heroes as easily as they can be made into monsters.

Kentucky~ The Graves County Amish men are taking their traffic case to the Supreme Court. Gas prices are higher. Food banks are buying unused produce. A Fort Campbell woman is in jail for scamming people. A vote will be held in Bowling Green to determine how the accused terrorists will be tried.  The state judiciary is financially stable for the first time since 2008. Meetings will begin soon to help address the needs of the blind.

Tennessee~ A Clarksville woman is in jail for leaving her kids in a hot car.

Illinois~ The Fire Marshal says to stay away from illegal fireworks.