Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day Jude feels like a fool. He thinks that Sue is the only soul he truly has an affinity with, but she is forever cut off from him by his disastrous marriage. Jude goes to a tavern that night where some other masons are drinking too. They start talking about the colleges, and Jude curses the professors for rejecting him, claiming that he is smarter than most of them.
The great tragedy of the marriage-centric aspect of the novel is that Jude and Sue are truly compatible and seem to be “soulmates,” but they are prevented from being together by the rigidity of the institution of marriage. Jude again turns to alcohol in his depression.
Themes
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Uncle Joe, one of Jude’s companions, challenges Jude to recite the Nicene Creed in Latin to prove his academic prowess. Jude recites it all, but then he gets angry when everyone applauds him and he storms out of the bar. Jude, still drunk, walks to Lumsdon and knocks on Sue’s door. Sue lets him in and calms him down, putting him to bed and promising him breakfast in the morning.
All of Jude’s hard work and study is only good for impressing people at a bar, people who have no idea if he is speaking Latin correctly or not. It is ironic that Jude recites the traditional declaration of faith even as he seems to have lost faith in everything he previously believed in.
Themes
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Jude wakes up at dawn and is ashamed that Sue has seen him in this state, so he slips out of the house without waking her. Jude returns to Christminster and finds a note from his employer dismissing him for missing work. He walks to Marygreen, feeling miserable and downtrodden but a “poor Christ” figure. Jude meets his great-aunt by the town well and then goes to stay with her in his old room.
Jude is again compared to a Biblical figure, this time Jesus himself, though Jude feels he has degraded himself (by drinking) during his “martyrdom.” It was unjust that Christminster didn’t accept him, but Jude also hurts his cause by turning to alcohol when he faces failure.
Themes
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Jude wakes up feeling that he is a failure “both in ambition and in love.” Jude wanders about the town and meets a clergyman, Mr. Highridge. Jude confesses his plight and failed dreams, and Highridge says that Jude could perhaps enter the church as a licentiate if he gives up drinking.
Jude seems to be following in Phillotson’s footsteps again, giving up the dream of Christminster but still hoping to be successful within his own social sphere. The problem is that Jude’s religious faith is not as strong as his idealistic ambition and tendency towards sensual pleasures.
Themes
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Get the entire Jude the Obscure LitChart as a printable PDF.
Jude the obscure.pdf.medium