Jude The Obscure: Part 2, Chapter 1 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 2: Chapter I

      Synopsis: Jude leaves for Christminster - before leaving sees the picture of Sue, his cousinat Christminster - much impressed by the college buildings - feels the presence of the departed souls - Jude, very much a man of vision and imagination - aims to find out Sue and Mr. Phillotson.

      Jude leaves for Christminster at last. Three years have elapsed since Jude's break with his wife. He was now a young man of twenty-one 'with a forcible, meditative, and earnest rather than handsome cast of countenance'. He had already completed his term as apprentice acquiring fairly good skill in his trade. The time was now ripe for him to turn a new chapter in his life and for this he had been looking forward for about ten years. So one final afternoon Jude was found in a cart moving towards a village nearest to his city of dreams from where he intended to walk up to Christminster.

      Before his departure he went to see his old aunt. There on her mantelpiece he found the photograph of the face of a pretty girl that impressed him much. On enquiry his aunt told him she was his cousin, Sue Bridgehead, who also lived and worked at Christminster. When he wanted the photograph to trace her there his aunt declined.

      At Christminster - much impressed by the sight of old college buildings. After reaching the outskirts of the city the first thing Jude did was to hire a modest tape of lodgings in a suburb nick-named 'Beersheba'. hen after consulting a map he proceeded towards the University area. After reaching there he entered the sacred precincts of the colleges one after another and wandered there for a long time. It seemed he was encircled as it were with the breath and sentiment of the venerable city. Before coming here, just to prepare himself to become a student in this University, he had cad a lot of works of great men who studied in these colleges. Now wandering there alone in the gloom he left the presence of these great ueparted souls from Ben Jonson to Swinburne and many others. He was so much carried away by his emotion that he began to hold conversations with nose great departed souls quite loudly. The spell was broken only when the real voice of a policeman challenged him. Even after going home and before going to sleep he read books by the great authors of the past. And just before falling asleep he felt as if the spectres of those great writers like Arnold, Gibbon or Browning were hovering there and reading aloud to him famous lines from their own writings.

      Next morning when he woke up a bit late he suddenly remembered that he was still to find out his sweet-faced cousin and his old schoolmaster.

Critical Analysis
      Jude's dream fulfilled - a visionary and imaginative fellow. After working, suffering, studying, and aspiring for ten years in the small village of Marygreen, Jude finally arrives at his city of dreams. The sombre and imposing edifices of the university colleges overwhelms him. In the college premises we find him conversing loudly with the great departed souls. At home, just before falling asleep the spectres of those great men seem to be moving in his room and reading aloud the famous passages from their own writings. This shows Jude's great imaginative and visionary qualities. At the end of the chapter we find he has not really forgotten his teacher or his sweet-faced cousin. He must find them out, specially his cousin.

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