Portrayal the Treatment of Rustic Life in Jude The Obscure

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      The portrayal of country-folk. Other novelists of Hardy’s days have amply portrayed the elite of the societies in the England of the nineteenth century. They have taken pains to portray the upper-middle class society as well. Unlike them, Hardy loved the rustic countryfolk better and understood them adequately. Depiction of these-simple villagers, artisans, and laborers has been considered, it seems, by him to be his main duty given his patriotic outlook. There also prefers to treat them collectively as representatives of the Wessex way of life. All classes and occupations are touched by him so that the readers from the colonies (when Hardy wrote his novels it may be remembered, that British Colonial Empire extended all over the world) may have an insight into their manners and the society they live in in and move about. Hence he considered the portrayal of individual characteristics not so important.

      Wide range of rustic folk. The country folk described by Hardy include the farmers, furze cutters, laborers, servants, cottagers, and others. Our comprehension of the Wessex way of life in the nineteenth century is facilitated by Hardy’s realistic description. Take for example pig-rearing and distilling of liquours. In Jude, the Obscure Arabella belongs to a pig-rearing butcher family. The behavior of the folk connected with this cottage industry is distinctly treated in the various chapters. Arabella is a barwoman also. How the taverns are run and patronized by the rustic folk is described realistically.

      Practical wisdom despite verbosity in speech. The rural folk no doubt indulge in useless talk. They may be verbose in their utterances. We cannot have a complete picture of these people if they are divorced from their circumstances. Their useless talk is invariably pregnant with practical wisdom. Arabella may be a coarse vulgar woman of crude sexuality. But no sophisticated lady can beat her in her sound common sense and practical wisdom despite the remark Hardy himself has made that Arabella is the only hateful woman in all his books.

      Direct portrayal through acts. In one of his essays, Hardy says thus—— “The conduct of the upper classes is screened by conventions and thus the real character is not easily seen. If it is to be seen it must be portrayed subjectively; whereas in the lower walks conduct is a direct expression of the inner life, and thus the character can be directly portrayed through the act. In one case the author's word has to be taken to the nerves and muscles of his figures, in the other they can be seen”. We find that Hardy deals with simple primal natures with ease and sureness while the complex character of the polished sophisticated gentleman or lady throws him into awkwardness and theatricality. It was Hardy's self-chosen task to trace the elemental things of life wherein his inclination is amply supported by his strength and skill as a writer. He kept himself aloof from the madding crowd of London and its urban elite.

      Ordinary workmen and women as tragic heroes and heroines. Aristotle's dictum that the tragic hero must be a man of high rank and nobility of birth is not followed by Hardy. Jude Fawley our hero is a stonemason who had worked as scarer of birds in a farmyard and driver of bread carts. Sue Bridehead was an elementary school teacher. But Hardy has given us a very remarkable soul's tragedy, through his novel. The pure strong and beautiful soul of Sue Bridehead is wasted away by the bitter process of sorrow, fear, and faults until it takes on a piteous shrunken state of being. The ambitious stonemason who was sensible and hard-working could not get on well in the world through various hurdles from within and without. Other novelists probably did not see any romance in the commonplace walks of life and - ordinary occupations. That these simple rustic people too had a soul characterized by beauty and grandeur has been demonstrated by Hardy through his novels. Hardy’s supreme achievement can be said to be the discovery of great treasures among the less noticed and oft-forgotten crowds of average humanity. He could point out the spiritually adventurous characteristics of the rustic folk on a par with those of emperors and empresses.

      Truthfully and scientifically portrayed. The rustic characters that appear in one of Hardy's novels may have little to distinguish them from those appearing in another of his novels. They exhibit the same rustic tendencies and characteristics in their dress, complexion of their physical bodies, habits, manners, and also in their peculiar dialects of speech. But the author has not been found deficient in his ability to lend them a peculiar charm of their own and created them more attractive than the fact.

      Happy carefree people. Hardy's rustic characters serve as a sort of tragic relief. They prepare a sort of humorous background for the tragic display of the somber drama of humanity. They are happy and carefree people, jovial and genial. Hardy does not endure in sarcasm when portraying even their frailties. The lower characters of Hardy can be called photographic reproductions from actual liers He has hardly depicted them spiritually and psychologically probable because he does not want the attention of the reader to be distracted from the main characters. We cannot find souldissection or spiritual struggle in the lower characters. Their native culture and upbringing are exhibited to us through their views and opinions.

      No vulgarity or obscenity. Hardy never paints the rural people by pointing out the glaring vulgarity and obscenity that they may possess. They are childlike in innocence and childish in their behavior but sometimes in their foolish wisdom, they utter sagacious phrases of practical philosophy which even Schopenhauer may envy. These characters of Hardy are never intellectualized. They are true to their soil. We may laugh with them but never laugh at them.

      Permanent representatives of the Earth. The important personages and noble characters may come and go. Their advent may cause some upheaval and their departure some commotion, but they are not the permanent representatives of the people of the Earth. Thousands of Drusillas and Arabella's constitute the real society on Earth. They are the true representatives of the Earth and the earthly life which does not stop even for a moment. These lower characters attain eternity.

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