Jude The Obscure: Part 3, Chapter 9 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 3: Chapter IX

      Synopsis: Jude and Arabella back at Christminster - failing to make up with Jude she confesses about her second marriage - Sue in quest of Jude and meets him there Sue seems to be unhappy after the hasty marriage - both back to Marygreen - Miss Fawley's scathing remarks about her marriage and Phillotson - Sue admits the truth - Arabella back to her second husband.

      Back to Christminster - confession about her second marriage to Jude. Jude and Arabella were back at Christminster early next morning. Arabella had wanted to come to some conclusion regarding their future. But they had not been able to. While moving along the road, Arabella said that she had two things, but she would talk only about one. Then she frankly divulged to him that the manager of a Sydney hotel in Australia had taken keen interest in her, pressed her to marry him and ultimately she had yielded and married. Jude was stunned and aghast to hear this. But she did not care and said that such things were very common in that far-away country. As he was not prepared to make up with her, she besought him to keep this a Secret and Jude readily agreed.

      A very unexpected meeting with Sue at Christminster. Arabella left. Jude seemed to be overwhelmed with a sense of shame and degradation at his revived sexual experiences with Arabella the night before. He was ta catch the next train for Marygreen after three-quarters of an hour, so he strolled into the city and looked at the lovely college buildings once more with a heavy heart. While moving back towards the station, some gentle voice called him and to his great surprise he found Sue standing before him like a vision. Sue explained that she had been quite upset at not finding him at Alfredston station and had walked alone to Marygreen. As Jude did not return at night she could not sleep during the night and took the early morning train to come there in quest of him. That Jude might take to drinking heavily again to drown his sorrows was the real source of her worries. That Sue took so much trouble to come all this way purely on his account overwhelmed him. He requested her to go back to Marygreen with him again.

      To Marygreen - Aunt Fawley resents Sue's marriage. On their way back in the train as well as on the road Jude wanted to talk about Mr. Phillotson and her married life. But Sue tried to avoid such discussion. When Jude said that she must be a happy wife, she very cruelly replied: And of course I am." But her voice and the expression on her face convinced Jude that she was unhappy.

      When they neared aunt's house Mrs. Edlin told them that Mrs. Fawley had left her bed and gone downstairs without caring for anybody's advice. On seeing them she cried out that she was no more prepared to lie as an invalid all the while. And then turning to Sue she exclaimed: "Ah - you'll rue this marrying as well as he!" And then of all the persons how could she marry Phillotson the schoolmaster? Miss Fawlely was plain and harsh enough to assert that in spite of all their civility and goodness "there be certain men here and there that no woman of any niceness can stomach." And to her Phillotson was one such man. After this Sue rushed out. When Jude tried to console her on finding her in tears, she frankly told him that she was shedding tears not for the rudeness of her aunt but for the truth in her statement. In the afternoon Sue left on her own for Shaston.

      Arabella's letter - going back to her second husband. Jude passed a few days more at Marygreen. Unexpectedly he received letter from Arabella from London. She informed him that her other husband had already come back from Australia in quest of her. They had parted just after a slight tiff and misunderstanding. And after coming back he had already started running a fully licensed public bar and was prospering nicely. He very much wanted her to go back to him. She felt that she belonged to him more than to Jude and so had already gone back to him. The letter ended with an earnest appeal to keep this a close secret.

Critical Analysis
      Arabella and her second husband-quick turn in life. In this chapter also we find Arabella to be the same tenacious and unprincipled woman. Her plan to pass a night with Jude just to make it up with him failed. Then she confesses about her illegal marriage with another person in Australia. She adds that she would patch up with her second husband whom she had left only after a slight tiff. Then we come to know from her that the second husband was back in England and she had rejoined him.

      Miss Fawley's uncanny remarks about Phillotson and their marriage. It is quite evident from Sue's talk on the way to Marygreen that she is not happy after her marriage. And then came Aunt Drusilla's scathing remark: "Ah - you'll rue this marriage as well as he!" And when she vehemently criticised Mr. Phillotson as unworthy of any woman, Sue rushed out in tears. But she admits the truth of the remark. Even after her marriage Jude and Sue are still very much attached to each other.

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