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

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Part 5: Chapter V

      Synopsis: Both Jude and Sue as well as Arabella and Mr. Cartlett come to the Agricultural show at Stoke Barehills - getting down at the platforms at the same time - Arabella attracted follows them - parts with her husband to watch them closer - burns with jealousy to find Jude and Sue so happy together - meets Anny her old friend and Dr. Vilbert too - Anny tells the doctor about Arabella's facsination for her first husband Vilbert sells a box of pills for rejuvenation and a bottle of love philtre to Arabella - Jude and Sue, a really happy couple though not yet married.

      Both the couples at the Agricultural Show at Stoke - Barehills. Both Jude and Sue were living quite a good, happy life as husband and wife though without soleminizing their marriage. Even the unexpected arrival of that unhappy child could not affect it. Not very far away from Aldbrickham, there was another small town, Stoke-Barehills which was famous for its great Wessex Agricultural Show. The town was connected by rail from London as well as Aldbrickham. The fair was held in early June. On a particular day that month Arabella and her husband Mr. Cartlett, a bloated man with a globular stomach, alighted at the station at Stoke. Barehills from the London train. Almost at the same time Jude and Sue also got down from the Aldbrickham train. Mr. Cartlett, the owner of The Three Horns at Lambeth, wanted to hire a light carriage, but Arabella wanted to walk the short distance. Her intention was to purchase some cheap furniture from road-side shops. So they proceeded towards the fair on foot. Then to her surprise she found Jude and Sue walking ahead of them with Father Time and she pointed them out to her husband. He was not much interested in them, but Arabella regulated their pace in order to keep just to the rear of that group. When her husband said that the other couple seemed to be fond of each other as well as of their child Arabella protested vehemently that the child could not be theirs. Her contention was that either they were married very recently or not married at all.

      A jealous Arabella part with her husband to watch them. Arabella became awfully jealous of the happy couple and began to watch them very keenly. When Jude and Sue entered the exhibition grounds and started going across to the cart-horse sheds, Arabella wanted to follow them. But her husband resented it. So they parted to meet later on after looking around the exhibition on their own. Her heart burnt with jealousy when she felt: "He's charmed by her as if she were some fairy!" Arabella also felt that she did not care for him so much as Jude did for Sue. Sue, she felt, did not seem to be much of a warm-hearted creature. After her husband's departure she Still followed the couple. And then very unexpectedly she met Anny, her girlhood friend. Both were overjoyed to meet each other after a long time. Arabella then pointed towards Jude and Sue going ahead. After observing them Anny told her she ought to have stuck to such a nice looking person as Jude. And when Anny praised Sue, Arabella said that the "slim, fidgeting little thing" did not know what love was. Anny retorted that she also might not know what love meant.

      Meets Dr. Vilbert - purchases love-philtre. Anny and Arabella then unexpectedly met the quack doctor Vilbert in the crowd. When Arabella told him that he looked as young as ever, he retorted that it was due to his taking his own pills regularly and requested her to purchase the same immunity from the ravages of time. She had to purchase one. She informed him that she was then Mrs. Cartlett and also pointed out her former husband walking ahead. Following the couple with the child they reached the band-stand and Arabella observed them closely and jealously from behind. Meanwhile Anny informed Dr. Vilbert about Arabella's hankering interest in her former husband. Just after hearing this Vilbert showed Arabella a small phial of clear liquid and told her it was a love-philtre used by the ancients. One small bottle of this liquid required the distillation of the juices of one hundred pigeons or doves' hearts. Only ten drops of it mixed in a drink would be enough to capture the heart of the desired man or woman. So the quack-doctor befooled her by prevailing on her to purchase a bottle for five shillings.

      Jude and Sue - a really happy couple. Meanwhile we find Jude and Sue lingering in the pavilion of flowers. The excitement of a day's outing with Jude and the gay sights of the exhibition filled Sue's heart with ecstatic delight and her eyes sparkled with joy and vivacity. Their talk, their gestures clearly revealed to Arabella, who watched them from behind, what a happy couple they were. In fact the couple were also conscious of it and Sue remarked that she felt that they had returned to Greek joyousness and had blinded themselves to sickness. The only shadow on their bright and happy life was the aged child who could neither laugh nor enjoy any good thing of life.

Critical Analysis
      A happy couple without the bond of marriage. This chapter very clearly reveals how happily Jude and Sue were living together without getting married legally. Hardy quite convincingly shows us how true love can thrive without any religious and legal bond. The aged child was the only shadow on their sunny and happy life. Hardy has also nicely revealed the pitiable predicament of Arabella who always wants to bind a man to her apron and to whom love means only carnal enjoyment. Then the strange remark from Father Time that he cannot enjoy the beauty of flowers thinking of their transitory existence shows how unusually gloomy and serious was the mind of this boy.

      Abundance of humour. We get plenty of humour in this chapter from the pen of Hardy. His target is mainly Arabella and her second husband. The typical quack-doctor is also there. When Arabella draws her husband's attention towards Jude in the crowd, Mr. Cartlett takes little interest in him, since her charms and her idiosyncrasies, her supernumerary hair-coils, and her optional dimples, were becoming as a tale that is told'. Again when her friend Anny remarks that Arabella was always wanting another man than her own, she funnily returns: "Well, and what woman don't I should like to know?" Then the way Mr. Vilbert prevails upon Arabella to buy a box of pills for rejuvenation and a bottle of love-philtre to capture the heart of men is really amusing. Then the author rather sarcastically calls Mr. Cartletta pot-bellied man and Aradella a florid woman. The humour in this chapter is often tinged with sarcasm and irony, as, is usual with Hardy.

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