Often a drop of irony into an indifferent situation renders the whole piquant

chong lee

Senior Member
The quote is from The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy.

I did not get the last sentence. Do I have to take "the whole piquant" together or seperately?

Thank you.

Cessation in his love-making had revivified her love. Such feeling as Eustacia had idly given to Wildeve was dammed into a flood by Thomasin. She had used to tease Wildeve, but that was before another had favoured him. Often a drop of irony into an indifferent situation renders the whole piquant.
  • "renders the whole piquant" could be written "renders the whole, piquant,' i.e. makes the whole into something piquant. Are you clear on that?

    Example: "If you throw one chili into the salad, it will make the whole (salad), piquant (spicy)."

    ADDED: Are you aware that Hardy uses 'love-making' more broadly than we do at present?
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    chong lee

    Senior Member
    Yes I am aware of it.
    Yet it is not clear. What does Hardy mean with irony? I do not see any irony.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    I believe the irony is that while he (who I'm not sure) pursued Eustacia, she was indifferent. But once he stopped then she responded with her love.
    For reference of those attempting to understand the first post. Here is the sequence as I make it out. The first post is apparently about a passage taking place at point ** below.

    Eustacia and Wildeve are lovers. Eustacia not totally taken with him.

    Wildeve breaks off to court Thomasin.

    **Eustacia takes new interest in Wildeve; Wildeve asks her to run off with him.

    She declines.

    Eustacia goes after Clym who's got social position.

    Wildeve, disappointed, marries Thomasin.

    Eustacia marries Clym.

    Eustacia plans with Wildeve, to run off together

    Eustacia and Wildeve drown.

    Venn (the reddleman) marries Thomasin.
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