Jude The Obscure: Part 6, Chapter 1 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 6: Chapter I

      Synopsis: Jude and other come to Christminster on the Remembrance day - Jude bent on seeing the processing first - old friends in the crowd recognise him - their harsh remarks about his failure - Jude's excited speech to explain himself - the rains come - in quest of lodging after the procession passes - bitter experience.

      Jude & party at Christminster recognized by old friends. As mentioned in the previous chapter Jude with Sue and the children arrived at Christminster at last. It was Remembrance Day, that is Oxford Commemoration day. At the very station they realised that there was joy and judilation all around. Sue wanted to move on immediately to find a lodging. But Jude was keen on seeing the procession first and so moved along the Chief Street with a big crowd of jubilant people in a holiday mood. Unfortunately to Jude it seemed to be his Humiliation Day as it reminded him of his failure in life and of his abandoned dreams. Soon they reached the open place between a church and college building. The learned Doctors were to pass through the place in procession. Then the rains came, but in spite of the delay Jude would not move without seeing the procession. Meanwhile some one in the crowd wanted to know what was meant by the Latin inscription on the facade of the nearest college. This gave a good chance to Jude and he began to explain them to the great surprise of the crowd there. And then in that crowd there were Jack Stagg, Tinker Taylor, Uncle Joe, all his former colleagues and friends who recognized him easily. They jokingly reminded him of his past. And when Uncle Joe remarked that he had failed as his powers were not enough to achieve his ideas he was much excited and exasperated.

      Jude addresses the crowd and explains himself. In an excited voice Jude frankly told the people that instead of following the beaten track, he wanted to reshape his course according to his aptness and bent of mind. His attempts should not be judged simply by success or failure. Undoubtedly he failed, but it was not due to his lack of will-power but due to his poverty. And they should really pity him instead of ridiculing him if they knew no much he had suffered in life for his dreams and for his advanced ideas. "I was, perhaps, after all, a paltry victim to the spirit of social and men restlessness, that makes so many unhappy in these days!" He added that when he had come there first he had had a neat stock of fixed opinions and now he was in a chaos of principles. He concluded by saying that he perceived there was something wrong somewhere in their social formulae and it could only be discovered by men and women with greater insight than him. People appreciated him much. Just at that time a Doctor came there in a cab and the driver began to beat and kick the horse for nothing. And Jude pointed out this barbaric act at the gate of the temple of learning as a sort of objective commentary on his own remarks. The rain came on heavily again, but Jude would not leave without having a look at the procession with Heads of Houses and new doctors. It was over soon. Jude asked Sue why she seemed so pale and nervous. Sue told him that she had seen Phillotson in the crowd, but he had not marked them. She admitted that she still felt a curious dread of him.

      In quest of a house - the bitter experience. Jude decided they should now move on to find some suitable accommodation. They now entered a narrow lane just close to the back of a college. There were some rooms to let in some houses. The first and the second house owners flatly refused to let any room to them as they did not want to have people with children. In the third house the wife of the landlord was rather kind to them, but was prepared to let out the room only to Sue and her children. Jude must stay somewhere else, so he left them there. But their cup of bitterness was full when the landlord was back home. He also was not prepared to have children in the house, So the landlady came and told Sue that instead of a week she could allow them to stary for the night only. Sue had to agree, but she did not like to disturb Jude that night. Attempts to find lodgings were futile. After returning they found Jude's note with his address. Father Time was so upset that he sadly uttered "I ought not be born, ought I".

Critical Analysis
      Jude and Christminster and Sue. Here we find that Christminster still has its fascination for Jude, although it never cared for him. After reaching there instead of going to find lodgings for them he is more interested in the Remembrance Day or the Oxford Commemoration Day procession. But Jude soon realises that for him it is his Humiliation Day, as he feels how miserably he has failed to realise his boyhood dreams. It is Sue who treats him very sympathetically and tactfully. He frankly admits that without her sympathy and support his life would have been absolutely ruined. So the couple are really happy with each other, although they are not married legally.

      Jude and the crowd. Some persons in the crowd, his old friends and acquaintances, recognize Jude when he begins to explain the Latin inscriptions on the facade of a college. Some of their remarks regarding his failure embitters and excites Jude. And in his loud and emotional speech addressed to the crowd there he aptly explains the reasons of his failure. He failed not due to his lack of will-power but due to his poverty and the unsympathetic attitude of the higher-ups in the university. He also rightly points out that there is something wrong somewhere in our social formulas..." and his harangue is really appreciated by the crowd. To them it seems to be better than that of a priest or parson. But one important thing to be noted is that Jude's disillusionment about Christminster is complete at last.

      The bitter experience to find accommodation. Jude and Sue could never dream that it would be such a tough job securing lodgings in that city. When they face the landlords, their harsh business-like manner and unsympathetic attitude have been revealed to us in a true and realistic manner. Two of them flatly decline to give them a room. And the third one is not prepared to keep them more than a night because of the children. The after-effects of all this is very sad on Father Time. He feels that he should not have been born at all.

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