Jude the Obscure

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Jude the Obscure Part 5, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That afternoon Arabella sings in the choir at a church and then leaves with Anny. On the way back to Alfredston Arabella reveals that her talk with Sue has made her very jealous. After passing the house where she lived with Jude, Arabella quickly convinces herself to give up religion and try to win Jude back. She flings her religious pamphlets out into a hedge.
Arabella gives up religion like Jude and Sue did, but her reasons have to do with lust and greed instead of love and intellectual doubt. Arabella now fully accepts her role as an antagonist to Jude and Sue’s romance, primarily because she is jealous of their seeming happiness.
Themes
Fate Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Later in the journey Arabella comes across Mr. Phillotson in the road. She recognizes him and introduces herself. Phillotson reveals that he has been disgraced because of the circumstances of his divorce, but he still thinks he did the right thing. He says he is the schoolmaster at Marygreen again. Arabella tells him about her meeting with Sue, and she says that Sue is unhappy and that he never should have let her go. Arabella advises using harsh discipline to tame a wife, and then she and Phillotson part ways.
Phillotson is far more compassionate and sympathetic than Arabella is, but he is capable of doing just as much damage to the protagonists’ relationship. Arabella sows the seeds of discord. She is a condensation of the worst things Victorians thought about women, and she also seems to support the sexism of her society.
Themes
Marriage Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
Meanwhile Sue goes home, where the Widow Edlin is tending to the sick Jude. Sue tells Jude that she sold all the Christminster cakes, which excites him, but then she describes her meeting with Arabella. Jude decides that they should move again, and he requests that they return to Christminster. He knows that the town has rejected and despised him, but he still can’t let go of his old dream, and he hopes at least to die there if possible.
Jude and Sue might have somehow been successful in their unorthodox romance, but fate strikes them again through Jude’s sickness. Meanwhile, idealism and ambition are part of Jude’s nature, so he can never truly give up the dream of Christminster, no matter how its “defective real” has disappointed him.
Themes
Fate Theme Icon
Social Criticism Theme Icon