Jude The Obscure: Part 3, Chapter 10 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 3: Chapter X

      Synopsis: A conflict between spirit and flesh in Jude's soul - repentant for being a man of too many passing - much impressed by a hymn by a local composer - Jude's skill in church music decides to meet the composer for getting solace - gets a handbill for his wine business - upset to get a letter from Sue for meeting her on that day - to meet her next Friday.

      Jude an agonised soul torn by mental conflict. Jude was back at Melchester with all his agony and conflicts in his mind. The town was very much neat to Sue's place. But like the great saints of the past he would continue his battle against his passing and temptation. So he feverishly engaged himself in his studies for the priesthood. He felt repentant for his passion for Sue and worse for having an escapade for a night with his so called legal wife. Meanwhile Jude was interested in church music and developed his skill at it. He was known to an organist in a nearby village church and he joined the choir here as a bass voice. There he was much impressed by a strangely emotional hymn, "The Foot of the Cross". Jude thought that the composer must understand his moral conflicts and offer spiritual comfort if he discussed with him.

      Meets the musician - a total disappointment. So, the very next Sunday he went to Kennethbridge and met the composer. Jude began to speak to very highly of his hymn. But the musician turned out to be a worldly man who felt that music was a low source of income and he was going to enter the wine business for the money in it. Jude's disillusionment knew no bounds.

      Another disappointment - Sue's letter. There was another disappoint ment in store for poor Jude. Back home Jude found a letter from Sue inviting him to come to her place at Shaston that very day. The missed opportunity of meeting her upset him very much as it was all due to the foolishness of having been at that musician's place seeking solace. However, he immediately wrote to Sue expressing his keen desire to meet her during that very week and Sue invited him to come on the next Friday. She also informed him that she was then working as an assistant teacher in her husband's school.

Critical Analysis
      The conflict in Jude's soul: psychological battle between flesh and spirit. As regards the development of plot or story this chapter is rather insignificant. But it nicely reveals the convicts raging in Jude's soul. He regrets his passion for Sue and is awfully repentant about having passed a night with his so-called legal wife. He resolves to take up his studies in Divinity seriously for his church career. But then he feels disheartened to think that he was a man - of too many passions to make a good clergyman and to feel that in the "constant warfare between flesh and spirit" the latter may often lose. And his great eagerness to meet Sue again after receiving her letter shows whither the wind blows.

      The composer's sketch: satirical touch. Here we find a short satirical sketch-rather a pencil sketch of a composer. The man who could compose such a strangely emotional compassion, a hymn, turns out to be a worldly businessman. When Jude seeks spiritual solace from him, the composer hands over to him a advertisement for his wine business.

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