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Archived Group Reads 2014 > Jude The Obscure - Book 5 At Aldbrickham and Elsewhere (week 5)

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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Please post your comments for Book 5.


message 2: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Yet more twists and turns.

The chapter starts with Sue commenting that if the truth about her and Jude had been known the divorce would never have been granted (since the grounds were adultery, and adultery had to be actual and not merely Platonic). And it ends with Arabella telling Phillotson the same thing. Nice bookends.

I was sad to see Phillotson so reduced in person -- "an elderly man of spare stature and thoughtful gait. In his hand he carried a basket; and there was a touch of slovenliness in his attire, together with that indefinable something in his whole appearance which suggested one who was his own housekeeper, purveyor, confidant, and friend, through possessing nobody else at all in the world to act in those capacities for him" and in income "I take fifty pounds a year here after taking above two hundred elsewhere."

But I still respect him for loving Sue enough to let her free when it was clear that that was essential to her happiness.


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments What a change in Sue and Jude's circumstances.

Yet more dithering about getting married, both Sue and Mr. Cartlett balking at marrying.

The unexpected arrival of Little Father Time, and such a change it made in their relationship.

The little family traveling here and there, no settled home, just following the work.

Sue and Jude finally consummating their relationship, and producing a child. Did we ever think it would happen? And are they, or are they not, husband and wife? Hardy seems unwilling to tell us.

And finally, Jude, too sick to work as a stone mason, returning to baking and Sue successfully peddling all the Christminster treats he could make.

And now one more move -- back to Christminster. But is it too late for Jude? Or will we have a happy ending where with Sue's support he finally gets into the university and winds up as vicar of a nice country parsonage?

Silly me. This isn't Austen, its Hardy. A happy ending? Well, maybe Hardy will surprise us.


message 4: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments I confess that I feared the worst when Jude discovers that he has a son by Arabells. I expected Sue not to be able to come to terms with little 'Father Time'. Remarkably she seems to feel compassion towards this 'old head on young shoulders'. He is not surprisingly a troubled child, but Sue and Jude do their best to have him feel part of their family.

Jude's illness in consequence of inclement weather at his stonemasonry job, requires his return to baking and Sue's selling of the goods at the local fair. Here, her meeting with the widowed Arabella comes as a shock. Arabella has initially had a conversion of sorts and has adopted all sorts of religious jargon. This is to be short lived, however, and her desire to have Jude back becomes strong.

At last though Jude and Sue have had their own children, but a move back to Christminster is on the cards. It is quite heartbreaking as their possessions are auctioned off including Sue's pigeons. Though Sue has a plan. While passing the shop with her pigeons still in the basket she releases the latch and sets them free. There is something so poignant in her release of them; if only she could be released from her own mental prison and take flight!


message 5: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
Honestly I'm just surprised that Jude and Sue are still alive. Of course, Hardy still has one book to go.


message 6: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
I was also really struck by the release of the pigeons and the sale of their belongings. I was also struck by how gentle Jude is with her. Is this because of his nature or the lack of a marriage contract, as Sue once argued.

It seems they can't get a break, although they keep trying to make a life for themselves that is as true to their feelings as they can be. It's not just social pressure that's against them, but also nature itself, to a degree.

In the other hand, they have each other and three healthy children with another on the way. You can almost believe that if they could get that break, they might be okay. I know that's not likely to happen, but I've grown so find of them both, in spite, or perhaps because, of the fact that they seem too innocent/unworldly for the world.


message 7: by Martha (new)

Martha Samsell (tmhoira2012) | 26 comments I am surprised Jude and Sue got married, I thought she would bow out like she did Phillotson. The confrontation between Sue and Arabella is interesting. There is some jealousy of Sue concerning Arabella's son.


message 8: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments It certainly is a mixed bag of relationships, Martha.


message 9: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1861 comments Mod
At this stage, I wasn't entirely sure they WERE married. It all seemed a little trumped up. Did they get married to appease everyone else or pretend to get married to appease everyone else? What would be gained by the deception?


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