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

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Part 3: Chapter III

      Synopsis: Sue's absence at night creates a lot of commotion - but the girls are sympathetic taking Jude to be her lover - Sue locked up in a room to be punished - the pupils revolt in her favour - Sue escapes through the window and by crossing the river passes the night at Jude's lodgings.

      Reaction among the pupils - Sue's punishment. All the pupils of various age groups has been much excited on the previous evening as Sue had not returned in time. They had had a heated discussion among themselves and come to the conclusion that Sue and Jude were lovers and not cousins. So they did not mind much if the lovers had their own way for a night. The mistress enquired if any one of the two persons, whose photographs stood on her them table had come to take her away. In response they told her that it was another person with a black beard. In the morning the mistress of the dormitory conveyed to the girls the Principal's order that none of them was to Speak to Sue without her permission. When Sue came, she went straight to her room and did not come down for breakfast. Soon they came to know that Sue had been severely reprimanded and she was to stay in a room all by herself for a week. All the seventy pupils resented this and appealed to the Principal but with no effect. The next step for the girls was to refuse to do anything in the classroom. The teacher told them that the young man was not at all her cousin and he had been dismissed from his job at Christminster for drunkenness and misconduct. But the girls refused to believe it and remained adamant.

      Sue escapes and passes the night at Jude's place. Suddenly there was a commotion towards dusk and a first-year girl rushed in to inform that Sue had escaped in the dark across the lawn. The lawn was thoroughly searched with a lantern but Sue could not be traced. The garden was bounded by a river. They were scared to think that she might drown herself. So they examined the river and were much relieved to find some boot-tracks in the mud on the opposite bank. Meanwhile Sue reached Jude's lodgings, tapped at his window and called him by name. She was told she could come up unseen. Jude's shock and surprise knew no bounds when he found Sue standing in his room drenched to the skin. She frankly told him how they had punished her by locking her up in a room and how she had escaped through the window, crossed the stream and reached his place. She had no other alternative but to put on Jude's clothes so as to allow her clothes to dry. They sat on chairs side by side and talked for some time. But soon she fell fast asleep in her arm-chair. Jude gazed at her 'and saw in her almost a divinity'.

Critical Analysis
      The uncommon aspects of Sue's character. This chapter throws a flood of light on the extraordinary aspects of her character. She displays a daring spirit of defiance by escaping from the hostel. She was not prepared to put up with the injustice meted out to her by the college authorities. Then she fully reveals her unconventional nature when she lives in the same room with Jude consecutively for two nights without any inhibition or fear. She does not mind putting on Jude's clones for a night. All this clearly reveals that as a woman she was much ahead of her times with her unorthodox and unconventional ideas. Sue's escape from the hostel and her going to Jude's lodgings are really daring acts as well a dramatic.

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