Jude The Obscure: Part 3, Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 3: Chapter VII

      Synopsis: A very unexpected letter from Sue depresses Jude - to marry Mr. Phillotson - Sue's second letter - Jude is to be her giver - away - Jude takes better lodgings - Sue to stay for ten days before her marriage - she comes - church to rehearse the ceremony - Jude gives her away to Phillotson - the most painful job for him.

      A very depressing and unexpected letter from Sue. Just after a day or two a letter came from Sue like a bolt from the blue. Her full signature, Susanna Florence Marry Bridehead, boded evil for him. She just informed him that she was going to marry Mr. Phillotson in three or four weeks. They did not want to wait any more as she was out of Training College. She ended by entreating him to wish her joy. Jude was absolutely stunned and could not even take his food. Jude felt that the disclosure of his marriage and her recent expulsion might have led her to take Such a hasty decision. He knew that Sue was not a very practical or calculating person. But what could the poor girl do in such a sad and disheartening situation?

      Sue's second letter requesting him to give her away in marriage. Within another two or three days Sue wrote to him again. This time she appealed to him to give her away in marriage as her guardian. Her father was not willing to do it. Even in this letter she expressed her resentment at the marriage service in the Prayer-book, as according to that there must be a giver-away for women. In this reply Jude wished her joy and agreed to perform the job though his heart bled. But he also expressed his strong resentment at the way she was signing her letter. He also suggested that she was to marry from his house and so would have to stay in his house at leas for ten days as required by the law.

      Sue at Jude's lodgings - both visit the church. Mr. Phillotson thanked Jude for the offer of his lodgings for Sue. The day for marriage was fixed and accordingly Sue arrived at Jude's place just ten days before. Jude hae already moved to better quarters. Sue lived in the same house, but on a different floor. They saw each other very little. But on the wedding day they had breakfast together. Jude was morose, but Sue talked incessantly. What was troubling Jude most was that he was aiding and abetting the woman he loved in doing a wrong thing instead of imploring and warning her against it. After breakfast they went out on an errand. Just after a turning they came near a grey church. Jude told her that it was the place where her marriage ceremony would take place. Sue immediately wanted to go in and see the spot where she was to kneel and perform the rites. And arm-in-arm they strolled towards the altar like a couple just married. It was almost like a rehearsal and this nearly broke down Jude. When Sue realised what it meant for him she regretted and craved his pardon. And hand in hand they came out of the building on the street. Sue was to go to the station to receive Mr. Phillotson. But the train had already arrived and they met him on the main street. And it was rather strange on Sue's part to withdraw her hand from Jude though there was nothing wrong in it. It seemed as if Mr. Phillotson was bit surprised. Sue frankly told him what they had been doing in the church. The pair went to Jude's lodgings and Jude went to the market to purchase a present for Sue.

      Jude gives her away to Phillotson: All the three came to the church at the appointed time. Though Mr. Phillotson had dressed himself for this solemn occasion rather awkwardly, yet he looked dignified and it seemed he would make a good and considerate husband. But while the service was going on Jude felt in his heart of hearts that he ought not to have understand the business of giving her away. He failed to understand how Sue could ask him to perform such a painful task. Probably Sue was also suffering for inflicting such unbearable pain on her dear Jude in her colossal inconsistency Poor Phillotson was much too engrossed to feel or observe all these things. Soon the ceremony was over. Back at the lodgings, they had their simple feast. At about two o'clock the couple were to leave. But just before entering the carriage Sue ran back upstairs to bring his handkerchief followed by Jude. While coming down with fearful eyes, Sue's lips parted as if she was going to say something. But it was never told.

Critical Analysis
      Sue's hasty decision to marry - Jude perplexed and disappointed. This is an important chapter bringing about sad and sudden changes in the life of our hero and heroine, Jude and Sue. Her hasty decision perplexes and upsets Jude completely. He is at a loss to guess why she had done this so hastily without properly realising the significance of a, married life and that too with such on elderly person. May be it was to retaliate on him for disclosing his secret to her after she had allowed him to love her.

      Sue's unorthodox nature. This chapter also reveals Sue's unorthodox and unconventional traits of character. She very strongly criticises the marrigare service in the Prayer-book as it says that there should be some one to give the bride away to the bridegroom like a she-ass or she-goat. The most objectionable part of it is that it is meant only for women even if she chooses a partner of her own free will.

      Phillotson's character revealed. This chapter also gives us some idea about Mr. Phillotson's as a man. On this way to the church for the marriage ceremony he looks quite dignified and it seems to be evident that he is likely to prove himself to be a kind and considerate husband.

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