Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure

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Jude the Obscure Part 5, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
One night Jude returns home and Sue tells him a woman came to ask for him. Sue thinks that it was Arabella, and she gets very upset. Later that night there is a knock on the door and Sue says it is Arabella again. Jude opens his window and asks Arabella what she wants. Arabella says she needs help, and that she hasn’t gotten married after all. She wants Jude to come see her at her lodgings to discuss something important.
Sue’s feelings of jealousy often seem stronger than her feelings of love. Arabella returns again to disrupt Jude’s life. By now she is the main “antagonist” of the story, though sometimes a sympathetic character as well. Sue and Arabella are now in the same place at the same time, and so their opposite natures are juxtaposed.
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
Sue begs Jude not to go, but Jude feels his usual sympathy for Arabella. They argue for a while, during which Arabella disappears. Sue grows so upset that she promises to marry Jude if he will stay at home. She declares that she loves him, and apologizes for being so “cold-natured” in comparison to the coarse Arabella. Jude agrees not to go.
Jude’s sympathy for wild animals got him into trouble at his crow-scaring job, and Arabella knows how to exploit this sympathy for her own gain. Sue’s love often seems less than genuine, as she agrees to marry Jude only to keep him away from Arabella.
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
The next morning Sue feels guilty for having treated Arabella so badly, and she wants to go find her at her inn. Sue kisses Jude passionately and then remarks that “the little bird is caught at last.” Sue goes off and finds Arabella in a room at a public-house. Arabella treats Sue rudely, saying that Jude isn’t really “hers.” While Sue is there Arabella gets a telegram saying that her second husband will take her back.
Throughout the novel Sue has always been associated with the concept of freedom – she rejected the confines of the Training School and her marriage, and is often referred to as a “bird.” Arabella represents all the sordid, unromantic aspects of marriage, the way it functions more as an economic transaction than a conjoining of two loving souls.
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
Before leaving, Arabella advises Sue to marry Jude, listing all the practical ways that marriage will help her properly ensnare him. Sue gets upset at Arabella’s words. Arabella says that she will write to Jude about the important matter she wanted to discuss, and she leaves.
Arabella seems to sense Sue’s aversion to marriage and so she lists all its legalistic and mundane aspects to try and keep Sue from marrying Jude. Arabella and Sue are polar opposites, especially regarding their positions on marriage.
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
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