Jude The Obscure: Part 1, Chapter 5 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 1: Chapter V

      Synopsis: Jude and his cart and his strange way of studying inside it - the warning from the policeman - spell of pagan literature - repents and turns to the Bible - determined to go to Christminster - becomes a stonemasons apprentice to earn and learn in that city of light.

      Jude on his creaking cart-absorbed in reading classics. After his futile attempt to learn Greek and Latin Jude's regard and admiration for them enhanced to a greater degree. He was determined to get into the mountain weight of material with a 'dogged mouse-like subtlety of attempt to move it piecemeal'. Meanwhile he helped his maiden aunt a lot and her business of little cottage bakery prospered. Soon a creaking cart with an old horse was purchased to distribute loaves to villagers all around. It was Jude's job to do this in a quaint and singular way. The strange thing about the cart ways: "Its interior was the scene of most of Jude's education by private study." Pedestrians found him deeply absorbed in his Caesar, Virgil or Horace, while the horse moved on its own accord along the known path to the houses of the villagers. Thus he made some progress in his quest for knowledge.

      A repentant Jude turns to the Bible from Pagan literature. Jude was now sixteen years old. He was now deeply interested in pagan writers of Latin Classics. One day his cart was passing by the old Brown House. The sun was setting and the moon was rising. He was reading a poem, Carmen Saeculare, by Horace: He was so much inspired that he got down from the cart and knelt down on the roadside. He then bean to read the first line of the poem - Oh Phoebus, and Diana, queen of Forest - addressing the sun and the full moon as if they were deities. Back at home he began to think seriously if it was right of him to be so much carried away by the pagan writers when his aim was to become a Christian divine. He felt that he was not pursuing the right course of studies. So a repentant Jude started in right earnestness reading the Gospels and Epistles from the critical edition of Greek New Testament by Griesbach. He also began to visit on Sundays all the nearby churches and to decipher the Latin inscriptions on fifteen century braises and tombs.

      Becomes a stonemasonry apprentices to support himself at Christminster. Jude now made his firm and final decision to go to Christminster, the city of light and love. But the problem was how to sustain himself in that city. He must acquire skill in some profession and he decided to learn to build. So he became an apprentice to a stonemason in Alfredston after finding a substitute for himself in his aunt's business. He began to learn the rudiments of freestone-Working. He then went to a church-builder and helped him in restoring the dilapidated masonries in near-by churches. He was nineteen now and he took up his lodgings in the new place. He used to go to Marygreen every Saturday evening to meet his old aunt.

Critical Analysis
      Jude's determination to become a scholar. This chapter shows how determined Jude is to gather knowledge to become an erudite scholar. His strange way of reading books inside the cart, leaving the horse free to move on, amply reveals his studious habits. Even the local policeman's warning about careless driving cannot deter him. He simply becomes cautious. For some time he is very much influenced by the classics written by great pagan writers like Horace or Virgil. But soon he realises that he is going astray from his fixed course. He once even addresses the sun and the moon as his deities. He repents and limits his reading almost entirely to the Gospels and Epistles from the Greek edition of New Testament.

      Jude's apprenticeship to a stonemasons shows his tenacity of purpose. Jude's great ambition is to go to Christminster to be a scholar and ultimately to become a Christian divine. And to achieve this he even leaves his aunts business and becomes a low-paid apprentice to a stonemason in another place. To sustain himself in that city of light he would earn his livelihood by the sweat of his brow. This shows his tenacity of purpose to achieve his ambition in life.

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