Jude The Obscure: Part 1, Chapter 4 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 2: Chapter IV

      Synopsis: Jude finds Sue in a Church - much impressed, but afraid to talk - an unexpected note from Sue inviting him to meet changes the situation - both go to a village and find out Mr. Phillotson - sill a teacher - failure in his university scheme, disheartens Jude - Sue wants to change her profession - Jude manages to secure for her the Job of pupil-teacher under Phillotson.

      Jude's another meeting with Sue. Jude was doing all sorts of jobs connected with his line and earning as much as he could. Once he was engaged in some repair work in a church. And there he saw Sue again attending the morning service. Her pretty figure and her graceful movements attracted him greatly. His mind was much disturbed when he realised "that this interest in her had shown itself to be unmistakably of a sexual kind". But he could not help it. As the days dragged along he began to think more and more of her still he hesitated to disclose his identity remembering those three enormous reasons that warned him not to be intimate with her and not to reveal his identity.

      An unexpected note from Sue and the meeting. When this was the condition of Jude's mind, one fine afternoon Sue came to that stonemasons ward and enquired from the office if Jude Fawley was there. As he was away she left the place. When Jude came back he understood that it was none but Sue. He returned to his lodgings and there he found a note left by her. Sue had come to know of Jude's presence in the town. She first reproached him for not meeting her before and then regretted that had he met her earlier, they could have had such nice times together. But then she was going to leave the city very soon. This depressed Jude. But he immediately despatched a boy with his note telling her that he would meet her in an hour at the cross in the pavement, marking the spot of martyrdom. Both were quite happy to meet each other for the first time, though Jude had seen her from a distance many a time. But Sue did not meet him just at the place mentioned by him as it seemed to her to be a gloomy and inauspicious spot. Again she reproached him for not disclosing his identity before, though she was known to him. Jude felt sad as she was leaving soon. He told her that he only knew an other person in the city. He was Mr. Phillotson, a Schoolmaster, who had worked in their village previously. Sue told him that she knew about one Mr. Phillotson working as a teacher in a nearby village.

      Jude and Sue find out Phillotson. From her talk Jude became sure that this was the same person who had worked in their village as a teacher during his childhood days. He was now running a school at Lumsdon a village very close to the city. Jude at first felt very depressed realising that he had also failed in his grand university scheme. Anyway they decided to walk up to the village to find him out. When they reached his place Mr. Phillotson could hardly recognise Jude after the lapse of so many years. When Jude told about the books he had sent to him, he could remember to some extent that incident. He told Jude that he had to give up the idea of becoming a University man and then to enter the church long ago. Jude was disappointed but felt sympathetic towards his old schoolmaster. Phillotson told them that he was fairly comfortable in his present position adding that he was badly in need of a pupil-teacher to help him. Soon they left. While going back Jude asked Sue why she wanted to leave the place. She told him that it was because she had had a nasty quarrel with her employer, Miss Fontover who broke some of her statues as they were not to her taste. Jude suggested that she take up teaching once more and to be a pupil-teacher under Mr. Phillotson it possible. Sue lett him after saying that he might ask Phillotson about it. The very next day Jude went and met Phillotson and requested him to engage Sue as a pupil-teacher. Mr. Phillotson agreed. The very next day Jude informed him that Sue was prepared to accept his kind offer.

Critical Analysis
      Sue's note to end Jude's hesitation. In the beginning of the chapter we find how strongly he is attracted and influenced by Sue. To think of her means a supreme bliss for Jude's lonely soul. But still he restrains himself thinking that from a legal stand-point he can love only Arabella. But all his vacillations come to an abrupt end when unexpectedly he receives a note from Sue inviting him to meet her. And they meet. The result is that Jude has a thrilling experience and begins to have greater admiration and love for this vibrant cousin and is 'surprised to find what a revelation of woman was his cousin to him'. Sue's note also reveals that when men vacillate women can take the initiative and a quick decision whatever may be the consequences.

      Phillotson's failure casts dark shadow on Jude. When Jude comes to know from Sue that Mr. Phillotson is still a teacher, it is very difficult for him to believe it. They both meet him. And when he himself tells Jude about his failure in the grand university scheme Jude is awfully disheartened. If a man of his calibre had failed there is very little chance for him to achieve success, he feels.

      An important development. The other noteworthy thing is that a very important development in the plot with far-reaching consequences takes place in this chapter. Sue is going to change her profession to become a pupil-teacher under Phillotson. And it is Jude who manages to secure it for her. Poor Jude can never dream what tragic complications this will bring about in his own life.

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