Jude The Obscure: Part 2, Chapter 3 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 2: Chapter III

      Synopsis: Finds Sue in a church next time - chanting of Psalms and self-reproach afraid to be intimate with her - Sue and her purchase of busts of two pagan gods - Sue and Miss. Fontover, the former unorthodox and the other extremely orthodox - Sue reads gibbgon and Swinburne - Jude is engrossed in Greek Bible.

      Find Sue in a church - self reproach. Jude was still very keen to meet Sue. So the next Sunday he attended the morning service in a church where Sue used to go frequently. She did not turn up for the morning service but came for the evening one. He followed her into the building without her knowledge. "To see her, and to be himself unseen and unknown, was enough for him for the present." Soon 'the choir began to chant the following line of 119th Psalm: "Where withal shall a young man cleanse his way". This line struck a sensitive chord in his soul. He remembered his bitter past and thought himself to be a wicked and worthless fellow who could so easily be carried away by his carnal desires for a worthless woman and then get entangled in bonds of matrimony leading to such tragic consequences. Then he thought of Sue for whom he was already having a feeling of extraordinary tenderness. This become a source of joy and peace for him. But then the idea that he was probably getting romantically attached to his cousin disturbed him considerably.

      Sue purchases busts of Venus and Apollo. On a cloudless and clear day Sue got an afternoon's holiday and she chose to have an outing beyond the city. While wandering in the countryside she came to a higher ground between green fields. There she found a foreigner selling the plaster statuettes of pagan gods. She was attracted by them as she was tired of seeing and making copies of figures related to church. She purchased two busts, those of Venus and Appollo at a very cheap price. But still as a Christian she felt ill at ease and wrapped the figures with leaves and grasses. She was also afraid of her landlady and after reaching her room covered the figures with a large sheet of brown paper.

      Miss Fontover and Sue - the orthodox and the unorthodox ladies. Miss Fontover, the elderly mistress of the house and the owner of the shop where Sue worked, looked almost like an abbess in her spectacles and with her typical dress. She was the daughter of a clergyman and wore a cross and beads round her neck. Soon she came to Sue's room to call her for tea. When she enquired about the wrapped up figures, Sue had to hide the truth from this orthodox Christian. She simply told her that those were the statuettes of two saints - St. Peter and St. May Magdalen. And after going to her bed she secretly started reading first Gibbon and then poems of Swinburne. And while she was engaged thus our hero Jude, as a devoted Christian, was burring the midnight oil on that Saturday night and was reading earnestly the text from the Greek Bible.

Critical Analysis
      Miss Fontover and Sue - two different types of character. It this chapter we are introduced to a new character Miss Fontover is an orthodox Christian and looks like an abbess with her typical dress and with a cross and beads round her neck. She knows all the devotional poems of the Christian year and the shop she is running deals only with church requisites. But Sue is not at all a blind and narrow minded Christian. Though she works in a little shop of church requisites and often frequents orthodox churches yet she does not hesitate to purchase statuettes of pagan gods and to read Gibbon or poems of Swinburne while lying in her bed. And there is a bit of irony in the situation when we find that while Jude's guiding star is engaged in reading such mundane writings, Jude is reading very seriously the solemn lines from his Bible in Green-the Griesbach's text.

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