Jude The Obscure: Part 3, Chapter 1 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 3: Chapter I

      Synopsis: Jude still indecisive regarding his career in church - unexpected latter from Sue - has got a scholarship to join a Training College at Melchester - there is a Theological College too - another letter from Melchester beseeching him to come there at the earliest - she was to sad and lonely - Jude at Melchester - meets Sue - settles down there to work as well as study.

      Jude still indecisive; Sue's letter telling out her success: Jude appreciated the young clergyman's suggestion that he might enter the church as a curate. "It was a new idea - the ecclesiastical and altruistic life as distinct from the intellectual and emulative life." So a person could preach and serve his fellowmen without qualifying for some degree from a university. But still Jude remained undecided for the present to advance his new desire and engaged himself in little local jobs. Just at this time he received a letter from Sue. She expressed her anxiety for him and at the same time informed him about her success in some examination to secure a Queen's scholarship. Soon she was going to enter a Training College at Melchester to get herself properly qualified as a teacher. Finally she told him that there was also a Theological College at Melchester where he could get himself trained for his own ecclesiastical career. This was quite encouraging and inspiring for Jude.

      Another letter from Sue: Sue was already at Melchester. Christmas had come and passed. In response to her previous letter Jude had already informed her that he would be coming after a month or so, as it would be difficult for him to get some employment there at that time. But very unexpectedly he got rather a passionate letter from Sue. In her previous letter she had mentioned that Melchester was quite a nice and quiet place, but now she was feeling quite lonely and miserable there. She began to hate the place, as the rules of the establishment were quite strict. She then felt that she ought not to have listened to Mr. Phillotson who advised her to come there. She entreated him to come to Melchester at the earliest.

      Jude at Melchester - Jude and Sue, their frank talk: One winter evening Jude reached Melchester by train. From the station he started moving towards Sue's present abode. "Then a wave of warmth come over him as he thought how near he now stood to the bright-eyed vivacious girl with the broad forehead and pile of dark hair above it ......" Soon he reached the great building. It was a ancient edifice of the fifteenth century. Once palace, it was now a training school. He went in and enquired for his cousin. Sue turned up in a few minutes. She looked a bit subdued due to her disciplined life there. The first thing that Jude enquired of her was if she still took him to be a demoralised wretch for his strange behaviour the other night at her former residence. She assured him she quite understood his difficulties. From there both of them went out for a stroll in the town. As Sue was hungry they entered an inn and the place offered them a very nice opportunity for a tele-a-tete'. Sue first talked about the rigours of her much disciplined hostel life. After some time Jude out of great curiosity straight a way asked her if Mr. Phillotson had any intention to marry her. Sue first tried to avoid the question. But due to his insistence ultimately admitted that she had made a promise to marry him after completing the two years course in the Training College. It was a very painful shock for him, but Jude tried to face it stoically. Sue felt for him and requested him to bother about it as nobody knew what was going to happen after two years. Still Jude felt that Sue must have taken this hasty step as a result of his visit to her place in a drunken state that night.

      Jude settles down at Melchester: After some initial difficulties Jude could secure a job at Melchester to his liking at repairing cathedrals. He also got quite lodgings near the Close gate where Sue was residing. Along with his manual work he also continued his studies to qualify himself to enter the church as a licentiate.

Critical Analysis
      A new chapter in Jude's life: Here commences a new chapter in Jude's life. After his very sad disappointment at Christminster he starts a new life with bright hopes. He is to work as well as study to qualify himself to enter the church as a licentiate. He would be living near his dear Sue, his guiding star. But still there is a great disappointment for him here also. He is shocked to learn from Sue that she has promised to marry her benefactor, Mr. Phillotson in two years' time after completing her course at the Training College. And this portends further complications in their life.

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