“Only a wall divided him from those happy young contemporaries of his with whom he shared a common mental life; men who had nothing to do from morning till night but to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. Only a wall – but what a wall!”Jude the Obscure
‘Jude the Obscure’ is a novel 📖 written by Thomas Hardy which first appeared in a serialised manner in the Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 📑 from December 1894 to November 1894 🗓️. ‘Jude the Obscure’ is Hardy’s last completed novel 📙 and it first appeared in the form of a book in 1896. ‘Jude the Obscure’ is set in Hardy’s fictional land called Wessex 🏞️ and deals with the life of Jude, a working-class boy who yearns to become a scholar.
Jude Fawley: The Protagonist of ‘Jude the Obscure’
The novel ‘Jude the Obscure’ begins when Jude Fawley is 11 years old 🧑🏻. He aspires to become a scholar 📚 just as his teacher 👨💻 Mr. Richard Phillotson. His teacher has left Marygreen to take a university degree. Jude works hard 💪 and has started to earn in order to support himself 💶 during his days at the university at Christminster 🎓. He helps his great-aunt, Drusilla Fawley at her bakery 🍞🍩🥮 and has also learnt the craft of ecclesiastical stonework 🔨.
Jude ❤️ Arabella
Between these preparations to take a degree 🎓, he meets Arabella Donn. Arabella being a sensually attractive woman 👩🏻, Jude gets attracted to 😍 her. But she tricks him saying that she has got pregnant 🤰 and forces to him marry her. Jude, in order to save his honor 😔, accepts to marry her. But later, they breakup 💔 and she joins her family in Australia 🇦🇺.
To Christminster 🎓
Jude leaves for Christminster to pursue his studies 📒. But his heart ♥ flungs as he meets his Sue Bridehead 👱🏻♀️. He falls in love 🥰 with her but she doesn’t respond 🤐. Jude also feels guilty 😒 as he is still married to Arabella. Moreover, he drowns in despair ☹️ when he comes to know Mr. Phillotson, his teacher under whom Sue is working. He decides not to give up on 🙂 his dream to become a scholar 📓 and stays there to climb up the ladders of his dream.
You prove it in your own person. You are one of the very men Christminster was intended for when the colleges were founded; a man with a passion for learning, but no money, or opportunities, or friends. But you were elbowed off the pavement by the millionaires’ sons.Sue Bridehead
Jude decides to pursue theological ✝️ studies and enter the church ⛪. Sue plans to marry 💒 Phillotson after she finishes her studies at the training college but unfortunately 😯 she is caught by the college authorities for staying out with Jude all night 🌃. She flees 🏃🏼♀️ from there as she is ordered to punish. Jude cannot untangle her character 🤨 but the only thing he understands is that they are at two distant poles 😑. Their ideas and feelings are different.
“Crime! Pooh. They don’t think much of such as that over there! Lots of ’em do it… Well, if you take it like that I shall go back to him! He was very fond of me, and we lived honourable enough, and as respectable as any married couple in the colony!”
Jude the Obscure|Arabella Donn, Page 185
Sue shares the news 📜 of her marriage with Phillotson to Jude. Jude had already admitted 😶 that he had got married to Arabella. Arabella visits him, spends a night 🌃 with him after which he learns that she is married to another man 🤨 from Australia 🇦🇺. Jude meets Sue after her marriage where she says that she felt not get married 😮. Jude then promises 🤝 to visit her frequently. His knowledge in theology and his attempts to discipline under the conventions of Church goes in vain 😞 when his heart desires for love 🥰.
Jude Burns his Books 🔥
Jude travels 🚂 to Marygreen for his great-aunt’s funeral. ⚰️. Sue too attends the funeral and says of the troubles 😣 that faces in her marriage with Phillotson. She admits that she is unwilling to have a sexual relationship 💏 with Phillotson. Sue and Jude kiss 😘. Sue leaves for Shaston and Jude burns 🔥 his theological books 📚 realising that he can no longer be under the restrictions of the church ⛪ and become a preacher to profess religion ✝️.
Sue 💔 Phillotson
Phillotson is forced 😶 to free Sue as she expresses her contempt 😬 to him. He leaves her knowing that she is in love 💕 with Jude. Phillotson is also in despair ☹️ but gives her a divorce 📄 to ensure her complete freedom 🕊️. Phillotson is also expelled 😞 from his job at Shaston. While Jude and Sue moves to Aldbrickham, live loving each other 😍 but she still refuses 🙅🏼♀️ to give her consent for sex.
Little Father Time 👦🏻
Jude and Sue have lived together 💏 for an year in Aldbrickham. But they haven’t got married officially 📃 nor had any physical relationship 💋. They are living together for an year breaking ❌ all the conventional norms of the Church. Sue then permits 😌 Jude for intimacy when Arabella arrives for the second time and tries to have a hold on him 😮. Arabella marries her Australian husband Cartlett but leaves Little Father Time 👦🏻, the son of Jude and Arabella under his custody.
Jude’s Family 👨👩👧👦
Jude and Sue has enlarged their family with two children 🧒🏼👦🏻 and another one is one its way 👶🏻… But they have lost their reputation and honor 😕 in Aldbrickham as they have lived out of wedlock 😔 even after giving birth to their children. They move from one city 🚊 and another and Jude keeps on shifting his work place ⚒ too. Jude now tries to practice any profession 🧰 other than the ecclesiastical stonework ⚙️.
Arabella Hangs on Jude
Arabella who has come to Kennetbridge after her husband’s death ⚰️, comes to see Jude and she wishes to renew their 😍. She also goes to visit Phillotson who has then settled in Marygreen to question 🙋 him for letting his wife free 🤷🏻♀️ to live with Jude. Jude being ill is 🤕 unable to work regularly. He wishes to go back 😔 to Christminster.
“Even were he free, in a family like his own where marriage usually meant a tragic sadness, marriage with a blood-relation would duplicate the adverse conditions, and a tragic sadness might be intensified to a tragic horror”.
Jude the Obscure|Narrator, Page 93
Jude returns to Christminster and memories rewind ⏪ him to his days and reminds him of why he came to this place for the first time ☺️. He delivers a speech to the people surrounded there of what this place meant to them 😌 and how life took him away from his dreams 😔. This speech of desperation triggers Little Father Time 👦🏻 that leads him to hang his half-siblings and finally himself 🙄.
“I see marriage differently now. My babies have been taken from me to show me this! Arabella’s child killing mine was a judgement—the right slaying the wrong. What, shall I do! I am such a vile creature—too worthless to mix with ordinary human beings!”
Jude the Obscure|Sue Bridehead, Pages 344-345
The novel ‘Jude the Obsure’ 📖 which has started with the break the law rule by Sue reverses ↔️ as both Jude and Sue witnesses 😳 the deaths of their children. The child that Sue carries 🤱 is born still which makes her believe that she is being punished for committing sins 😩. When Sue becomes religious ✝️, Jude opts secularism 🔆. Sue, who now believes in the rules of the religious institution decides to return to Phillotson after the reception of a letter ✉️ from him asking her to join him. But she accepts it as a punishment 😐, not as a form of love.
‘Jude the Obscure’: The End
“We’ve both remarried out of our senses. I was made drunk to do it. You were the same. I was gin-drunk; you were creed-drunk. Either form of intoxication takes away the nobler vision… Let us then shake off our mistakes, and run away together!”
Jude the Obscure|Jude Fawley, Page 385
Sue returns to Phillotson and remarries 💍 him. Arabella reaches out for Jude and her consistent persuasion forces 😔 Jude to marry her again. But still, Jude and Sue love each other. Jude visits Sue frequently despite his illness 🤕 and speaks of their love for each other. Jude then learns that Sue has surrendered to Phillotson as a punishment which breaks his heart 😵. Jude dies ☠️ the following year when Arabella is out enjoying in the festivities 🎉. It is only Arabella and Mrs. Edlin, a friend of Jude who is present beside his coffin ⚰️.
The Plot of ‘Jude the Obscure’
It is said that the plot of ‘Jude the Obscure’ is inspired from the scholastic failure 💹 followed by the suicide 🙄 of his friend Horace Moule. Jude the Obscure first published in a serialised manner under the title The Simpletons and later Hearts Insurgent. It details the hardships of the working class people to afford education 💰 it has bits of his own life, his difficulties to attend the university.
‘Jude the Obscure’: The Voice of the Suppressed 🔦
‘Jude the Obscure’ is a novel 📖 that criticises the Victorian society that gave prominence to the conventional norms 🗂️ supporting the institution of marriage. This society also experienced sexual repression 😣 where the matters of sex was considered not to be spoken in public or not even a matter to speak of 🤫. Hardy’s voice 🔊 went against these rules to break those ✂️ norms and treated matters of sex, issues of class, morality and marriage. Here too, in ‘Jude the Obscure’, Hardy brings Jude and Sue living out of wedlock and having 🧒🏼, which is against 💁♀️ the social norms.
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