Jude The Obscure: Part 3, Chapter 4 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 3: Chapter IV

      Synopsis Sue wakes up in Jude's room - have their supper - talks on various things - Sue telling about her tragic affair with a university student - he taught her an lent her books - their strong difference of opinion on theological matters - one orthodox and other unorthodox - still they came closer to each - each is very very dear to other.

      Sue wakes up - their tete-a-tete. Jude heard the footsteps of his landlady on the stairs. He immediately removed Sue's wet clothes from sight, faced her and asked her to send his supper to his room. She mistook Sue in a man's dress for another young man. Just after this Sue woke up. She was feeling better, but seemed to be quite nervous. Jude cheered her up by asking her to rest and sleep in that chair. Whatever was to be done would be done next morning. Next they had their supper and tea. Then they continued their tete-a-tete for some time. Sue asserted, rather in a humorous vein, that she could at least prove that she was really unconventional. Jude was a bit surprised to find her talking like an educated girl. Sue understood it and told him that she had really got an opportunity to study great Greek and Latin classics through translations. Jude enquired how it was possible for her. In reply Sue hinted about a sad affair in her early life.

      A tragic affair with a university student. She was then only eighteen and had 'no fear of men, as such, nor their looks'. Somehow or other she became quite friendly with an undergraduate in Christminster. He taught her and lent her great books to read. He wanted her to be his mistress. But she refused as she was not really in love with him. So they lived in London on sharing a sitting room for fifteen months just like two male friends, though he said that it was breaking his heart. Finally he fell ill and died of consumption. But his death caused a terrible remorse in her, as she felt she had been cruel to him. The irony of the situation was that he left her some money and she lost the whole amount by investing in a bubble scheme. After hearing the sad story Jude remarked with some emotion: "However you have lived, Sue, I believe you are as innocent as you are unconventional!" Sue did not agree that she was really so innocent, but she affirmed that she had never yielded herself to any lover.

      Lots of difference of opinion, but one at heart. After that their talk turned to religious subjects and here they differed a lot. Jude was orthodox and traditional in his faith and ideas and Sue was absolutely unorthodox and unconventional. She very strongly and sometimes sarcastically criticized Christminster, the church and even the saints and Bishops for adding notes and abstract explanations to fine and literary chapters of the Bible. To Jude she seemed Voltairean in her ideas. Jude's main point was that one must take something on trust. Soon Jude realised the absurdity of quarrelling over Such hypothetical subjects. Sue also softened down. Both of them decided not to hurt each other's feelings and take care of each other. Jude felt that inspite of their differences of opinion on conjectural subjects they were coming closer to each other. "She was nearer to him than any other woman e had ever met." Soon his dear Sue fell asleep on her comfortable chair. Jude rose very early in the morning and touched her on the shoulder to wake her up.

Critical Analysis
      Clash of ideas, but still closer to each other. This chapter throws light on Sue's character and on the mutual relationship between Jude and Sue. It is now perfectly established that Sue is really an unorthodox girl but with great strength of mind. According to her a man may be very much moral in spite of having unorthodox and irreligious views. She cites the examples of her student-friend who died young. She does not pray, but she is not a hypocrite not to admit it openly. She strongly avers that the mediaevalist of Christminster must go or it itself will have to go. So to Jude she seems to be a Voltairean. But Sue wants to ennoble some man to high aims and to her Jude seems to be the right person for that. But she cannot understand Jude's taking so much of tradition on trust.

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