Jude The Obscure: Part 6, Chapter 3 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 6: Chapter III

      Synopsis: The tragedy adversely affects Sue's mind - she is cowed to submissions going back to orthodox ideas again - both think of legalising marriage - a sense of guilt creeps into her mind for leaving Phillotson - refuses to marry Jude - she still belongs to Richard - Arabella's unexpected visit - Sue at church - her final decision to part with Jude.

      Sue absolutely beaten - both thinking of solemnisation. Sue was recovering slowly. They were living rather comfortably in better lodgings and Jude was usefully employed. But the tremendous stress and storm of life seemed to have cowed Sue into submission. She was absolutely beaten. One day she proposed to Jude that they should get their marriage solemnised now adding that it was no use fighting against God. Besides he might be losing his job again if people knew about their illegal relationship. Jude readily agreed. Only one thing pained Jude. He found that they were mentally travelling in opposite directions after that great tragedy in their life. She was no longer the same Sue with her sparkling intellect and bold revolutionary ideas.

      Sue suffering from a sense of guilt - refusal to marry Jude. In fact Sue was very much suffering from a sense of guilt for such a life of self delight with Jude after leaving her legal husband. One evening she mentioned it to Jude and proposed, to his shock and surprise, that for this they should mortify the flesh. No soothing words, no counter-arguments from Jude could pacify her. Jude had also some sense of guilt as he felt it was not right on his part to establish sexual relationship with such a refined and angelic creature like Sue. Finally Jude asked her when they were going to legalise their marriage. And her curt reply that it was not going to take place at all came as a very rude shock. She then confessed to Jude that after the death of their babies she ought not to be his wife any more. This was because she now felt that she still belonged to Richard and she was convinced about it.

      An unexpected visit from Arabella. After a few days Arabella knocked at their door unexpectedly. Jude of course wrote to her immediately after the tragic incident and she knew about it in detail from the newspapers. She came there after visiting the grave of the children. She did not seem much grieved. But she only talked about her son, Father Time. In the midst of their conversation when he called Sue his wife, she was surprised to hear that she was not Jude's wife. Sue then left the room. Arabella could not exact any explanation from Jude regarding Sue's strange remark. Before leaving she told Jude that her father had returned from Australia after her mother's death and she was then living with him.

      Sue at church - her final decision to quit. When Jude and Arabella were talking Sue left the room. After her departure Jude could not find Sue anywhere in the house. The carpenter's wife informed him that she might have gone to St. Silas Church as she often did. Jude went there and was shocked to find her sobbing in the dark chamber. She did not like his presence there. There in the church she frankly told him that she was convinced that Arabella was his true wife and she belonged to Richard Phillotson. On their way back they had a long and heated discussion. Jude tried his best to turn her mind to the right line of thinking appealing to her not to do an immoral thing for apparently moral reasons. He even besought her not to abandon him to his two arch enemies - wine and women. Although Sue was moved and wept, yet she was adamant. When they reached the coffee-house Sue with tears in her eyes requested Jude to get her lodgings there. There she bade him goodbye as she would no longer share the same room with him. She allowed him to kiss her before parting and told him that they would still be dear friends just the same.

Critical Analysis
      Cowed to submission Sue takes to orthodox line of thinking. Sue is cowed to submission and her mind turns to old, orthodox ideas. She develops a sense of guilt for having left her legal husband and she prefers self-abnegation. She is absolutely changed after the great tragedy in their life. Strangely enough it could not cow Jude to change his ideas. Due to this sense of guilt Sue ultimately decides not to live with Jude as his wife any more. She even refuses to get legally married to him Jude is not really prepared for this unexpected development.

      Analysis of the mind of Jude and Sue. This chapter enables us to have an understanding of the working of Sue and Jude's mind as man and woman. We are surprised to know from Sue that she in fact submitted to Jude physically out of jealousy for Arabella and in order to oust her from Jude's heart. She would have liked very much to live with Jude in mental communion only. And Jude tells her at last that she had never loved him as he loves her: "Yours is not a passionate heart... you are, upon the whole, a sort of fay, or spirit - not a woman!"

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