Autumn comes and Jude and Arabella wait for the pig-killer Challow to come slaughter their pig. Challow never shows up, so Jude and Arabella have to kill the pig themselves. Jude tries to kill it quickly, despite Arabella’s demands that it “must die slow” so the meat will be more valuable. Jude is very distraught by the process, and he laments over the snow “stained with the blood of his fellow-mortal.”
Jude has not lost his sympathy for all living creatures. This scene shows just how incompatible he and Arabella are – she is concerned only with how much money they can get for the meat, and cares nothing for the pig’s suffering. The blood on the snow is a stark image of lost innocence.
One day Jude is walking off to Alfredston when he hears some of Arabella’s friends talking about how Arabella tricked him into marriage. Jude returns home and argues with Arabella about how he wishes they had never married. Arabella, who is melting the pig’s fat, says the pregnancy was her own risk and right.
Hardy begins with this example of a bad marriage, and then shows how it will continue to haunt Jude for his whole life. Jude and Arabella are clearly wrong for each other, but they are now bound together by law and religion because of one impulsive act.