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

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Part 6: Chapter VI

      Synopsis: Arabella comes to Jude's lodgings with her tale of woe-prevails' on this tender fool to give her shelter-talks about Sue-goes to Alfredston and brings news about Sue's remarriage-disheartened Jude goes to a tavern to drink-Arabella finds him out and makes him absolutely drunk - drags him to a room in her father's house for the night.

      Scheming Arabella spreads her dragnet to capture Jude. It was the evening after the day of Sue's remarriage with Phillotson. Arabella was standing at the door of Jude's present house on the outskirts of Christminster. True or false, she told Jude with tears in her eyes that she was destitute and homeless as her father had turned her out after borrowing all her money to start his own business. She implored him to give her shelter. Jude had very little feeling left for the woman. Still he agreed to pay her the expenses for her food and lodgings. But she started sobbing bitterly that a virtuous woman like her could not stay in a public house. She knew this tender fool well. Finally Jude allowed her to stay in his small lumber room for a few days. And even at the doorstep she started talking about Sue, which Jude resented. For a few days they rarely met each other. But on the following Sunday morning Jude allowed her to have her breakfast with him.

      Arabella goes to Alfredston to get latest information about Sue. At the breakfast table Arabella told Jude that if she could go to Alfredston, she could get all information about Sue. Though he did not like her talking about Sue, yet he was eager to know if she was really remarried. So he paid for her journey, asking her to return by the seven o'clock train. Jude was so anxious to have news about Sue that he could not but go to the station in the evening to meet Arabella. There she curtly told him that the couple were married again, adding that it was a sad affair. She also related all about the burning of that embroidered nightgown. Jude left her abruptly telling her he was not going to his lodgings then.

      Arabella succeeds in taking unstable Jude to her home. Arabella went to their lodgings and waited for Jude for a few hours. When he did not come back, she became sure that he had gone to some tavern to drown his sorrow in drink. But first she went to her own place, asked her father not to lock up the door, as she might come back late with her young man. After that she soon found Jude in his favourite tavern drinking. She then purposely allowed him to drink a lot at her expense. And when he was absolutely drunk, she took him out and told him that it would not be wise to go to their lodgings so late at night. It would be better to pass the night at her father's house. So Arabella succeeded in her scheme and dragged the drunk and almost senseless Jude into her dark chamber in her father's house after midnight. She was also a bit tipsy and on the way she averred that she also felt that she belonged to him in Heaven's eye, and to nobody else.

Critical Analysis
      Jude starts drinking and Arabella succeeds in her strategy. In this chapter the expected things happen. We have seen that whenever Jude is much depressed and disappointed he takes to drinking. So after hearing from Arabella that Sue was at last remarried to Phillotson, he goes straight to a tavern and tries to drown his sorrow in drink. We also know that Arabella, an unprincipled and worldly type of woman will stoop to anything to achieve her aim. So we see how she finds him out at the tavern and makes him absolutely drunk. Then she cleaverly takes him to the upper-storey room in her father's house. It is a repeat performance on her part; the first one performed when she entrapped Jude for the first time to compel him to marry her. This unscrupulous woman's only purpose is to capture a husband to have economic security in life. She thus offers a contrast to Sue.

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