Jude The Obscure: Part 5, Chapter 2 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 5: Chapter II

      Synopsis: Arabella comes to meet Jude - she is in difficulty - Sue turns her away - comes again at night - Jude determined to meet her out of sympathy - Sue is jealous and tries to prevent - she finally succeeds by promising to marry him at last - Sue meets Arabella on the morning - her second husband agrees to marry again - Arabella's practical advice to Sue.

      Arabella knocks at Jude's door twice. One evening after returning home Jude found Sue much depressed. When he asked the reason, she sadly told him that a woman had come to meet him. He wanted to know her name. Although she had not given her name, yet from her looks she could guess, that it was none but Arabella - she was a fleshy coarse woman. Just after their supper there was knock at their door again. Sue said with dismay that she was sure it was Arabella again. Jude, instead of going down, opened the window and found Arabella standing on the lonely street. To his query, she told him that she was in great distress and wanted to talk to him. She also added that she was not yet married as the man from Australia was unwilling to do so. Jude was moved to pity and decided to go down and talk to her to know about her difficulties. But Sue was upset and very mournfully appealed to him not to go and meet that low-passioned woman. She tried her best to stop him, but he was adamant. So he went down leaving a sad and sobbing Sue behind. She waited for him in great suspense but was full of joy when she found him returning so soon. She thought that his good sense had prevailed at last and he had not gone with Arabella to her hotel.

      Sue prevents Jude from following Arabella. Sue was shocked to know that he had come back for his boots. Due to his delay to go down, Arabella left for her hotel and Jude wanted to go there to meet her. Sue desperately besought him not to go after Arabella, as she was no more his wife. A Wordy duel started. Jude was exasperated and told her that he had always given in to her wishes and never got any favour from her as a lover by his self-denial. Things would have been different if she had been his wife by that time. This was too much for her; she broke down, agreed to marry him at last. She flung her arms round his neck and uttered with sobs: "I am not a cold-natured, sexless creature, am I, for keeping you at such a distance?...I do belong to you, don't I! I give in. The promise brought about a change in his mind. He kissed Sue passionately, rebutted the front door telling that it would be unfair to her after all to go to Arabella."

      It is Sue who meets Arabella next morning. Next morning after her conquest Sue felt a bit repentant for compelling Arabella to go back alone without meeting Jude. Although Jude did not find it necessary yet Sue took his permission to go and meet Arabella. It was a great disappointment for Arabella when she found that it was not Jude but Sue who had come to meer her. Sue was much disgusted at her vulgar appearance and talk. Arabella asked her to marry Jude at the earliest, as "Life with a man is more business-like after it, and money matters work better." While they were engaged in talk a telegram came for Arabella and she brightened up after reading it. She declared that it was from her second man who had at last consented to marry her again legally. She had succeeded in getting his consent by sending him a telegram mentioning she had almost made up with Jude. Sue left her hurriedly in disgust. But before Sue left Arabella told her that she wanted to discuss with Jude some matter of business, but she would write to him about it later on.

Critical Analysis
      Revealing the different aspects of all 3 important characters. This chapter throws considerable light on Sue, Jude and Arabella the three important characters of the novel. First of all we find Jude still having some sympathy and attachment for Arabella. In spite of vehement protestations from Sue, he is bent on going to her to know about her difficulties. Arabella knew about his tenderness and that is why she calls him a tender fool.

      As regards Sue we find at last that, in spite of all her unorthodox and revolutionary ideas, she has still the instincts and weakness of women in general. She is extremely jealous of Arabella and considers her as her rival. And to prevent Jude from going to meet Arabella, she at last gives in to Jude's wishes and agree to marry him at the earliest.

      Then Arabella reveals the worldly-wise and practical traits of her character quite clearly in this chapter. In her coarse and vulgar manner. She tells Sue how business-like life with a man is after marriage. But the husband will be always there to protect a woman's interest. And finally she says: "I'd advise you to get the business legally done as soon as possible. You'll find it an awful bother later on if you don't."

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