Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure

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Jude the Obscure Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sue starts working for Phillotson right away. It is part of his responsibility to give her private lessons, but according the law they have to have a chaperone with them during these. Phillotson thinks this is unnecessary because of their age difference, but he still finds himself growing attracted to Sue. A few weeks later they go to visit a model of Jerusalem in Christminster, which their students are to visit.
Hardy offers another subtle critique of Victorian views of sexuality. The law cannot conceive of a man and woman studying together in private without also having sex, so they must have a chaperone. This is unjust both for denying the potential for sexuality and assuming that humans cannot be anything but slaves to their desires.
Themes
Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
They examine the model and Sue wonders why Jerusalem should be so honored over Athens, Rome, or Alexandria. Suddenly she notices Jude, also watching the model and enthralled by it. He compliments the model but then tries to agree with Sue when she criticizes it. They agree to all meet that Friday.
Sue expands a bit on her unorthodox religious views. She is intellectual and detached from any kind of religious fervor, and so doesn’t see why Jerusalem should be elevated over other places that contributed more to culture and literature.
Themes
Women in Society Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
On Friday Jude goes out to meet Sue and Phillotson, but as he (unseen) watches them approaching he sees Phillotson put his arm around Sue’s waist. She removes it, but then Phillotson puts it back and she lets it remain. Jude is distraught by this and he hides from them as they pass by. He realizes he wants to interfere and pursue Sue himself, but he still technically belongs to Arabella and can do nothing.
Jude realizes the tragic irony of the situation, as he introduced Phillotson to Sue in an attempt to keep Sue near himself. In contrast to Arabella Sue is almost asexual, and hardly ever reciprocates affection. Though Arabella is absent, Jude can never escape his bad marriage.
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon