Jude the Obscure Jude the Obscure discussion


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Could things have been different if ...? (spoilers)

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message 1: by Angie (last edited Apr 16, 2013 06:39AM) (new)

Angie Despite been ostracized and tormented by society, both Jude and Sue were happy being together.

Real tragedy occured when the boy killed his half-siblings and commited suicide because he was very self-conscious. (his suicide note was very shocking)

Could he have been psychologically and/or emotionally poisoned by Arabella before going with Jude?

Could things have been different if both Jude and Sue had sat with him to tell him their situation and that he and his siblings didn't have the fault?


Geoffrey I don`t recall his being "poisoned" by Arabella. As for the other questions, yes, and yes.

Upon reading this book 40 years ago, I was angry at British society for excluding a natural scholar such as Jude from their university system, but now upon the re-read last year, I am as annoyed at Jude for never having taken the university entrance exam.


message 3: by Angie (new)

Angie Remember the hipocresy of society, they say that there are more opportunities for those who want to learn, study and have a brilliant mind when at the same time they demand high fees in order to enter.


message 4: by Nim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nim Geoffrey wrote: "upon the re-read last year, I am as annoyed at Jude for never having taken the university entrance exam.

I felt the same - I struggled to understand how someone so motivated and self-discipled to study hard to try and reach his goal was so easily disuaded from trom trying further by the note.


Katherine Lamphier The ending was perfect. The child, truly selfless, sacrificed all for his selfish hypocritical mother and father.


message 6: by Angie (last edited Apr 18, 2013 08:55AM) (new)

Angie Katherine wrote: "The ending was perfect. The child, truly selfless, sacrificed all for his selfish hypocritical mother and father."

Yes, he was very selfless, but he hadn't thought of the fact that killing himself and his siblings was going to make his father and step-mother's lives unhappier and worse than they were.

I think he was very depressed (and maybe in part because his natural mother had put him negative thoughts before) that he was in the phase where one thinks something like "Everybody would be much happier if I didn't exist."


message 7: by Celeste (new) - added it

Celeste Noel I was taken aback by how indifferent Jude and Sue were towards the children. Jude was obsessed with Sue, and Sue was completely self involved. Although the book was a commentary on society as a whole at that point in British history, I don't think that Thomas Hardy was really to create any victims in his characters. I know that Hardy himself was denied an education because of lack of money and his place in society, and reportedly felt slighted by society because of it, and I think this was a central theme of the book. He also had questions regarding marriage and religion, pretty obviously. As a realist, I think that he was trying to tear off the assumptions and pretense that surrounded society at the time, and show what it was to be human without any of the niceties. This includes the expectations of marriage and family. With the child's murder/suicide at the end, I think that he was trying to show the ugliness that the expectations of society, and their subsequent ostracism. It may have been a bit over the top, but I think that it was really effective. It was sort of a cumulative symbol of the ugliness that he saw in victorian culture.


Indeneri I don't think he was so much poisoned by what Arabella said as what Sue said.

It was completely inappropriate of her to suck the child into her problems. She should have tried to shield the children from their financial worries as much as possible. I agree that Sue was completely self involved, for all her education and intelligence, she couldn't see/didn't care what effect her words were having on Father Time.


message 9: by Kate (last edited May 30, 2013 11:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Little Father Time isn't really a character as such, he is a symbol of degeneration that Hardy included to make society look at themselves. I don't think that Sue and Jude would have sat down with him to explain things, and even if they did it would have made no difference. Father Time had a purpose and he fulfilled that purpose exactingly. I really don't think he was 'poisoned' by Arabella. He is symbolic of a society that gives no hope for the future for its children and so, Father Time removes their future altogether. The outcome could not have been changed without changing the society in which the plot was constructed. I believe that this was Hardy's point.


Geoffrey Unless you have an innate predisposition toward obsessive compulsive disorder or any other psychosis or neurosis, you wouldn`t incur it.


Carolina Morales Andrea wrote: "Her family and personal history clearly indicates hereditary mental illness. My above statement reads unclear. "Things would be different if... and I write "There wasn't mental illness in their f..."

Completely agreed. The Curse aunt Drusilla has spoken of so many times is mental illness; one of her current lines: "A Fawley must never marry". They have married inside the family which makes the worst scenario twice as possible.


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