Jude The Obscure: Part 5, Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Part 5: Chapter VII

      Synopsis: Jude with his family wandering from place to place doing temporary jobs - Sue and child selling cakes at Spring Fair at Kennetbridge - Arabella widowed and sobered - comes there to attend the ceremony of laying the foundation of a chapel surprised to find Sue selling cakes - enquires about their life and their children - Sue does not disclose their address - happy to find Father Time well cared for.

      Jude, a wanderer from place to place with Sue and the child. After selling his goods Jude and the others left Aldbrickham that very week. And then for two years and a half he had been wandering from place to place in quest of jobs. Wherever he heard of freestone work to be done Jude was there. Sometimes he had to work at a place for months and sometimes for a few weeks or so. And then he would move on to some other place where nobody knew them. He was then reluctant to take up ecclesiastical work and confined it to hotels, town-halls or country mansions. Thus he along with Sue and Father Time continued to lead a nomadic' life and nobody knew or cared to know where he was. And in spite of this hard life Jude and Sue were quite happy with each other.

      Widowed Arabella at the fair at Kennetbridge - finds Sue selling cakes there. It was nearly three years ago when Arabella visited an Agricultural Show and found Jude and Sue moving there with the child. Now she, accompanied by her old friend Anny, arrived at the Spring Fair at Kennetbridge. Unfortunately she was in mourning as she had lost her husband some time back. In her grief she was trying to turn her mind towards religion and had come there to attend the laying of the foundation-stone of a chapel by a London preacher in the afternoon. She left Anny near their carriage to find out the exact place. While coming back after locating the place a little stall of cakes attracted her attention. And to her great surprise she discovered Sue selling cakes accompanied by little Time. She could not but approach and talk to her. She informed Sue that her husband had suddenly expired six weeks ago and he could not leave her much to live as a rich widow. When she asked the child if he knew her, he affirmed and curtly told her that for sometime he had taken her to be his mother by some mistake. Sue then told her in response to her question that she had married Jude and had two children. Arabella observed that she was expecting her third one. And then in reply to another query Sue explained that they were doing that business because Jude had caught a bad chill while working in the rain for a music hall and was still to recover. They called them Christminster cakes with windows and towers. When she wanted to know their address, Sue flatly declined to disclose it. Finally Arabella departed after telling her that she had then turned to religion and reached a more resigned frame of mind. She came there from Alfredston not to attend the fair but the ceremony of the foundation-stone laying of a new chapel there.

Critical Analysis
      Chance meeting between Sue and Arabella again at a fair. After the lapse of about three years we find Arabella meeting Sue again and in a fair too. This meeting is important as it is going to have an impact on both the parties in future. Sue with two children tells her that she and, Jude are married but clever Arabella can rightly guess that they are not yet legally united. This will soon raise hopes in Arabella for capturing Jude again.

      Arabella's character - some transient change. Widowed Arabella seems to have sobered down to some extent. She is also turning to religion for some sort of support. But her talk and manner reveal the same old Arabella - aggressive, matter-of-fact and slightly vulgar. It becomes evident that the change is quite transient and so she would soon be the same old Arabella again. However, she is much relieved and happy to find her own child in safe hands and has no desire to take him back. Incidentally, Father Time is described as having an "octogenarian face."

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