Jude The Obscure: Part 1, Chapter 6 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 1: Chapter VI

      Synopsis: Young Jude making an estimate of his progress - dream for future - Jude meets Arabella Donn on his way to Marygreen - she casts her spell - a turning point in his life - Arabella, a complete female animal deft in the art of coquetry.

      Jude's estimate of his process and his day-dreaming. Jude was now nineteen. One fine and warn Saturday afternoon he was going by a roundabout route to Marygreen from Alfredston. On his way he was trying to make a mental estimate of his progress in studies. He was quite 'satisfied to think that he had already read a lot of books in Latin acquiring fairly good facility in that language. He had also read two books of Homer's Iliad and a little scrap of Thucydides, and a lot of the Greek Testaments. Beside, he knew something of Roman and English history and had done some mathematics too. Then he started his daydreaming. He was going to settle in christminster as early as possible. There the colleges must open their doors to him to proceed with higher studies. Before long he was sure to become a D.D., that is Doctor of Divinity. And he dreamed that some day he might become a bishop earning a comfortable income. But that seemed too much. So he would remain satisfied if he become an archdeacon. Any how he must be a great scholar and read Sophocles, Livy, Tacitus, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Seneca and works of other great ancient writers.

      A piece of meat hits him - meets attractive Arabella for the first time. Jude was so deeply absorbed in his thoughts and dreams that he forgot all about this work-a-day world. He was standing still at a spot for some time. Some typical sounds expressed in light female voices came from the other side of the bridge, but it could not disturb his deep concentration. Suddenly a soft piece of meat hit his ear. Jude found it to be the male organ of a pig. There was a stream on the other side of the hedge. After mounting the bank he saw three girls washing the intestines of pigs in the running water just in front of a house. They tried to show mock indifference. But Jude picked up one of the three an attractive girl and challenged her. This was Arabella Donn, daughter of a pig-breeder. "She had a round and prominent bosom, full lips, perfect teeth, and rich complexion. She was a Complete and substantial female animal - no more, no less ....." Jude asked if she wanted to speak to him. She agreed and asked him to come over to the plank bridge. They met in the middle of the plank. She was happy as Jude had singled her out from the three. She admitted that the mischief was committed by her. "The unvoiced call of a woman to man, which was uttered very distinctly by Arabella's personality, held Jude to the Spot against his intention-almost against his will, and in a way new to his experience." Arabella invited him to come and see her on Sunday. Finally they parted after deciding they were meeting the very next day which was also the next Sunday. On his way back Jude felt like inhaling a single breath from a new atmosphere and his ardour for reading and learning seemed to be collapsing in a strange manner. Arabella was glowing with triumph and rejoined her two companions who teased her a lot. But they agreed that here was a young man as simple as a child and was worth winning too.

Critical Analysis
     Jude meets Arabella - a turning point in Jude's life. This chapter is significant. We meet Arabella, an attractive and complete female animal. Jude is rather compelled to meet her, for the first time. She casts her spell on this young man, as simple as a child, instantaneously. It becomes a turning point in his life, as all his ardour for studies and hard work is going to suffer 'curious collapse into a corner, he knew not how.'

      Arabella's coquettish character. Hardy introduces Arabella in her very first appearance as a complete and substantial female animal with full lips and round prominent bosom. Her way of talking, glancing and the way of making an artificial dimple on her cheek amply shows that she was a first class coquette bent on ensnaring the honest and simple young man by hook or by crook.

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