Jude The Obscure: Part 2, Chapter 6 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 2: Chapter VI

      Synopsis: Jude to Marygreen to see his ailing aunt - information regarding Sue's childhoodstern warning from the aunt not to be involved with Sue - Jude's realisation about practical difficulties - writes to five academicians - a disheartening reply from one crushes him completely - takes to drinking to drown his sorrows.

      Jude goes to see his ailing aunt - her stern warning. Next Sunday Jude went to Marygreen to see his ailing aunt. This also helped him to control his desire to meet Sue. He found that Miss Drusilla Fawley was so unwell that she could not move from her bed. But she had got some money by selling her bakery and so could engage a widow to look after her. Jude wanted to have some information about Sue. She immediately asked him if he had been seeing Sue often, disregarding her advice. Jude could not deny it. And then she very rudely told him that as a child she was wayward and she must have now grown into a township and wanton woman. Further there had been hostility between their respective families. She sternly warned him that it after his disastrous marriage with Arabella he took a fancy for this impertinent want on girl it would mean complete ruin for his life. But then came his aunt's nurse who mentioned some of Sue's merits and creditable qualities, such as her knack of reciting poems very nicely in her childhood days. But his disheartened him more as he felt he was unable to woo her. Soon he left his aunt's cottage with a heavy heart. On his way back he met some villagers who asked how he was doing in Christminster and if he had Joined a College there by that time. He answered in the negative and told them that it required a lot of money for that. They curtly remarked that those places were meant for people with plenty of money. Jude did not agree with them, but their remark set him reviewing the situation on practical lines. He felt that he could not progress much without the help of a friend or coach.

      Jude writes to five academicians: Jude finally realised that simply his private study would not serve his purpose. He must have some special information. So Jude first observed a few academicians from a distance and wrote to five of them who seemed to him rather sympathetic and kind-hearted. He clung to the hope of some reply for long. He wrote to them explaining his own position and seeking some guidance. He thought it to be beneath his dignity to write to Mr. Phillotson after what he had seen the other day. After his enquiry from some indirect sources he realised that the best thing was to complete for open scholarship. But how could he compete with those who had intensive coaching from trained teachers. The other course was to buy himself in. But the amount required could be saved by him only after working for another fifteen years. So he came to the bitter conclusion that the whole scheme had burst up, like an iridescent soap-bubble under the touch of a reasoned enquiry.

      A reply that erushed Jude-takes to drinking: Jude did not want to involve Sue in this collapse. He felt that he could have overcome this shock with Sue as companion. But she seemed to be lost to him for ever. One day he went up to an octagonal chamber in the Senate House of the University. From there he could have a good glimpse of the whole town with all the great buildings and edifices of the university. He very sadly realised that the privilege to be inside those glorious buildings was not meant for him. From there he returned home and to his surprise found a letter from one of the academicians. The short note proved to be the last straw on the camel's back by suggesting that Jude should stick to his own profession and give up the idea of adopting any other course. Although he had begun to realise the helplessness of his situation yet the note came as a hard slap on his face and it hit him very hard. The blow was too much for him and that very night he went straight to a bar and to drown his sorrows and sufferings he drank to his heart's content. Then he began a night-stroll over the city. While moving along he had a sudden revelation. He felt that the common, struggling people of the streets were more important than the people in gowns on the university campus. Next he entered a public hall full of shop youths and girls and soldiers. He enjoyed the concert as well as their company. On his way back he passed by the gates of the college whose head had sent him that disheartening letter. And then, on an impulse be scribbled the following lines on the wall:

"I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?" - Job, XII3.

Critical Analysis
      Jude's frustration is too much for him to bear. This chapter reveals Jude's frustration and disillusionment in a very pathetic manner. It also throws considerable light on the weaker side of his character. He is already much broken after losing his guiding star, due to her involvement with Phillotson. And then the disheartening note from that academician proved to be the last straw on the camel's back. So we find a completely disheartened Jude going to a bar to drown his sorrow in drink. But in spite of his weakness, poor Jude draws our sympathy.

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