Jude The Obscure: Part 4, Chapter 5 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 4: Chapter V

      Synopsis: Jude meets Sue at railway station at Melchester - they proceed towards Aldbrickham - they are to setle there - Sue's inconsistent behaviour does not want share the same room with Jude - at Aldbrickham in the same hotel room where Jude and Arabella stayed - Sue much upset to know it from waiting maid - consoled when Jude tells about her second marriage illegally - Jude to love her in spite of her eccentricities.

Summary
      Jude and Sue go towards Aldbrickham. A day before leaving Shaston Sue wrote to Jude to meet her on the Melchester platform where her train was due to arrive at a little before seven. He was there in time. The moment the train stopped Jude entered into her compartment promptly with a black bag in his hand. But he did not make any move to get down. In response to her query Jude told her that they were to go to Aldbrickham, as he had already decided to settle in that big town. As he was quite a known figure at Melchester it would have been very odd for both of them to live together there. In the other place they would be strangers. Sue expressed her regret for ruining his future prospects and upseting his course of life. Sue then gave him Philotson's note in which he besought Jude to be tender and kind to Sue, as he felt they loved each other and were made for each other. Sue told him how kind and generous he had been to give her full freedom to go anywhere according to her wishes. Jude kissed her suddenly. And then after a while he informed her that Arabella had asked him to get a divorce from her to enable her to marry her second husband legally. Sue was happy to have this news as in that case Jude would be free from his nuptial bond.

      Sue's strange wish not to live with him in the same room. As it would be quite late when they reached Aldbrickham, Jude told Sue that he had already reserved a room for them at the Temperance Hotel there. But strangely enough Sue expressed her wish not to share the same room with him at the hotel. Jude was surprised as well as offended. But Jude submitted to her wish as he was more interested in her happiness. But he remarked that she either did not love him or she had become conventional. Sue tried to console him by requesting him to put it down to a woman's natural timidity when the crisis came. Jude expressed his doubts by telling her that he felt she was incapable of real love. Sue's reply was that her liking for him was of a supremely delicate kind, it was not as some women's perhaps. Somehow the story of that poor Christminster graduate came to his mind and he saw himself as a possible second for such a torturing destiny. Finally Jude remarked that though she had independent views yet she was enslaved to the social code just like other women. And that is why she married Phillotson after that stupid scandal. When he found her much distressed at his criticism, he consoled her and finally they reached their destination on the best of terms.

      In the same hotel where Jude stayed with Arabella - Sue's jealousy. At about ten o'clock they reached Aldbrickham. Instead of going to the Temperance Hotel they went to The George where Jude had stayed with Arabella for a night some time back. During Jude's temporary absence the waiting maid informed Sue that her companion had stayed in this month or two ago with his wife, a handsome full-figured woman. Sue mournfully told Jude that it was very cruel on his part to bring her to this place where he had been lately with Arabella. She felt it was treacherous of him to have had Arabella again whereas she had jumped out of the window when Phillotson had come into her room. She then broke down and wept bitterly. Jude tried to assuage her feeling saying that he had not made up with Arabella. And he told her to her great surprise that Arabella had married another man illegally and that was why she was urging him to get a divorce. So she was consoled and allowed him to kiss her once more. Jude called her a disembodied creature, a sweet tantalizing phantom - hardly flesh at all. Sue asked him if he loved her in spite of all her eccentricities and Jude's answer was firmly in the affirmative. And then they parted for the night.

Critical Analysis
      Self-contradiction and eccentricities of Sue. This chapter mainly reveals the strange and inconsistent traits in Sue's character. Though very much unconventional in her ideas yet she is rather conventional in her action, when she does not want to share the same room with her lover. And this seems very much self-contradictory when we know that she has left her husband for the sake of Jude. Her argument that her nature is not as passionate as Jude's does not convince us. And that is why she seems to Jude a disembodied creature, a sweet tantalizing phantom hardly flesh at all.

      The other important thing in this chapter is the short note from Phillotson to Jude which further reveals his nobility and his deep affection for Sue.

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