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Jude the Obscure
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Archived Group Reads 2020 > Jude the Obscure: Week 2: Part Second - At Christminster

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message 1: by Kerstin, Moderator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kerstin | 591 comments Mod
The narrative picks up again when Jude is on his way to Christminster after completing his apprenticeship as a stonemason.
After finding lodgings he roams the streets and colleges deep in contemplation of the historic figures who had walked these same streets in times past.
In the light of morning his nocturnal ruminations have lost their romantic luster. He looks for work but it will take some days before he is hired on.
From his aunt he knows his cousin Sue Brideshead - whose picture had stood on Drusilla's mantle - is also in Christminster. He finds out where she works but doesn't approach her for a while. He starts to have intense feelings for her.
Sue finds out by accident that her cousin Jude is in town. They finally meet face to face and have a lovely evening calling upon a common acquaintance, Mr. Phillotson.

Let's stop here for now. There is a lot going on between the lines!


Charlotte (charlottecph) | 271 comments Why is it so forbidden that Jude should contact Sue...! :)


Charlotte (charlottecph) | 271 comments I am pleased to meet a familiar character from “Far from the Madding Crowd”. Jude reminds me of Gabriel; humble, working class, pure mind, pushed by women, leaving his village to seek a better life.

I try to fit Hardy into this: is he living out a fantasy of how his life would have been or ...


Charlotte (charlottecph) | 271 comments It is interesting to see whether the dream of education and knowledge will succeed and bring happiness to Jude.


message 5: by Kerstin, Moderator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kerstin | 591 comments Mod
Charlotte wrote: "Why is it so forbidden that Jude should contact Sue...! :)"

I wondered too!


Peggy | 24 comments Me too! Perhaps there was a feud between the families?


Charlotte (charlottecph) | 271 comments Charlotte wrote: "Jude reminds me of Gabriel; humble, working class, pure mind, pushed by women, leaving his village to seek a better life..."

OK - now I have read more about Hardy and I can see that Jude and he are similar in some ways. He grew up in the countryside, his studies were interrupted by construction work, his wife thought she was from a superior social class etc.


message 8: by Kerstin, Moderator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kerstin | 591 comments Mod
I still owe all of you the continuation...

Sue quits her place of lodging after her landlady destroyed her Greek figurines as they were not "proper." Jude helps her find new employment as a teaching assistant with Mr. Phillotson. Jude feels lonely in her absence.
Meanwhile, Drusilla has become frail and sold her bakery business. She is confined to bed and tended by a live-in widow. Jude pays her a visit.
Jude's dreams of entering university come crashing down after he gets up the gumption to make serious inquiries. He is depressed, starts drinking and loses his job. He returns to Marygreen and sees hope in perhaps becoming entering the Church.


Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Kerstin wrote: "Charlotte wrote: "Why is it so forbidden that Jude should contact Sue...! :)"

I wondered too!"


Is part of it from Drusilla's view of the tragic natures of the marriages of the parents of each of them?


message 10: by Kerstin, Moderator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kerstin | 591 comments Mod
Lily wrote: "Is part of it from Drusilla's view of the tragic natures of the marriages of the parents of each of them?

I can't quite piece it together either. Why is she holding back information? If it truly is in Jude's best interest to follow her advice shouldn't she be more up-front? ...unless she has something to hide herself.



message 11: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Kerstin wrote: "Lily wrote: "Is part of it from Drusilla's view of the tragic natures of the marriages of the parents of each of them?

I can't quite piece it together either. Why is she holding back information?..."


One does have the reticence of the (Victorian) age to talk about things, especially issues considered somewhat scandalous?


message 12: by Kerstin, Moderator (last edited Jan 20, 2020 08:08PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kerstin | 591 comments Mod
Yes. And Hardy is writing this in the 1890s, the fin-de-siècle or end of the century, that was also known as decadent. Last year at this time we read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, an exploration of a man who comes to a bad end living a supremely decadent life. Now Hardy is normally not mentioned along these circles - at least I haven't seen so - but I wonder if he was to some degree influenced by the Zeitgeist.

...or maybe I am over-complicating things and Hardy is just a guy who likes to write about characters who go from pathetic to worse...


message 13: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Kerstin wrote: "...Hardy is just a guy who likes to write about characters who go from pathetic to worse......"

Imho, Hardy is a complicated figure. What I have read of a couple of biographies of him is a man in argument with himself, with women, and with the age in which he lived. Not a man I would likely have liked, but may well have come to respect (-- as an author, but never as a husband/lover), as I do respect his novels, even when I don't like them. Tess I find brilliant, if difficult -- perhaps because I agree so much with what I consider to be the heart of Hardy's message -- which may or may not be a "good" way to judge a novel. The others, I struggle with more.


Charlotte (charlottecph) | 271 comments I just read these words about Hardy,
https://www.bl.uk/people/thomas-hardy


message 15: by Kerstin, Moderator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kerstin | 591 comments Mod
Charlotte wrote: "I just read these words about Hardy,
https://www.bl.uk/people/thomas-hardy"


Thank you Charlotte!


Peggy | 24 comments Thank you, Charlotte! This explains a great deal.


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