Jude The Obscure: Part 3, Chapter 6 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

Part 3: Chapter VI

      Synopsis: Mr. Phillotson in a new school at Shaston, very much in love with Sue - goes to meet Sue - aghast to learn for the first time about her expulsion - meets Jude who assures him of Sue's innocence - tells the whole story - Sue meets Jude the same day a last Jude's disclosure about his unhappy marriage-Sue shocked at first-they decide to remain friends-Sue's unorthodox ideas.

      Mr. Phillotson and his cherished love for Sue. Mr. Richard Phillotson had recently moved to a bigger school in his native town of Shaston. From his looks and behaviour it was quite evident that he had given up all the ambitions of his early life. His only aim was now to marry Sue Bridehead and get settled as a family man. When people thought he was burning midnight oil to study his favourite subject, he, in fact, used to take out Sue's letter from the drawer and pore over them just like a very young man in love. The letters were just simple and matter-of-fact. Sometimes he would take Sue's photograph and would kiss "the dead pasteboard with all the passionateness, and more than all the devotion, of a young man of eighteen". In fact Phillotson had an unhealthy-looking, old-fashioned face and his style of shaving made it more old-fashioned. But there was a certain gentle manliness imparted to it by nature.

      Phillotson's visit to Melchester - Jude's assurance. Mr. Phillotson was all the while absolutely in the dark about the happenings in Melchester. In one of her letters Sue had asked him not to come to see her very often for that might arouse doubts in the minds of others. Sue wanted to keep their engagement a secret for the present. But there was no letter from Sue for two weeks and his patience was sorely tired. So one Saturday he decided to pay her an unexpected call. And when he was expecting to meet his beloved at the gate of her hostel, he was stunned to hear the news of her expulsion from the school. In his distracted mood Mr. Phillotson entered the adjacent Cathedral. And there he saw the reputed culprit, Jude engaged in repair works. He plainly asked him to let him know all about Sue's explosion. Jude was absolutely disgusted with this elderly man after knowing about his engagement with Sue and felt like crushing the man by telling that the scandal about them was true. But simple and honest Jude told him the whole story adding that the suspicion that had led to punishment and rustication was absolutely baseless. Phillotson was much relieved and left the place immediately.

      Jude and Sue - disclosing all about his tragic marriage. Sue was expected to meet Jude that very day at the Cathedral. But Jude found her outside when he came out for his dinner. She had already written to him about her visit, as she was to collect her articles from the hostel. The first thing Jude asked her was if she had met Mr. Phillotson that day. She rather harshly answered that she had not and asked Jude not to talk about him any more. When she found that he was offended she softened down. Jude made up his mind to disclose everything about his unhappy marriage to Sue a last. He frankly told her how it had happened and how they had separated. Sue was first awfully upset. Her most cogent complaint was why he had not divulged it before she permitted him to love her. She talked to him quiet nicely as well as pathetically. Finally Sue took pity on him realising his helplessness and wretched position. Then she consoled him by saying that they were cousins and she was already engaged to somebody else. In the end they parted as good friends persuading themselves that they could still remain cousins and friends and warm correspondents.

Critical Analysis
      Incident fraught with great consequences. Some very significant incidents take place in this chapter. They are to bring about a lot of change and complications in the life of three important characters in this novel. we find Mr. Phillotson dreaming of Sue in his new place at Shaston. But soon he is shocked to hear about Sue's expulsion and the scandal involving her and Jude. But when Jude tells him the story, he is much relieved to think that there would be no impediment for marrying Sue. Secondly we find Jude disclosing to Sue about his marriage with Arabella. It upsets Sue completely. And this disclosure is going to bring about so many complications that they will be the main cause of the rack and ruin of these two loving souls.

      Sue's reaction. After Jude's disclosure about his marriage, Sue is stunned. They are already in love. And if she has ever dreamt of marrying Jude, the dreams burst like bubbles. Then frustrated Sue criticises orthodox Jude vehemently in a very unorthodox manner. Her main contention is that she may not regard marriage as a sacrament, but being a religious man how could he get separated from his legal wife in that manner. Her sadness is partly due to her sympathy for Jude and partly due to the realization that they could not get legally united.

Previous Post Next Post