JUDE THE OBSCURE by Thomas Hardy-Free copy at the bottom

Jude the Obscure is a novel by Thomas Hardy, which began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895. It is Hardy’s last completed novel. Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man, a stonemason, who dreams of becoming a scholar.

There are very controversial issues in this book.

Jude the Obscure tells the story of Jude Fawley, a stonemason who dreams of becoming a scholar, and Sue Bridehead, his cousin and also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage. Jude is a working-class young man who lives in a village in southern England who yearns to be a scholar at “Christminster”, a city modelled on Oxford. As a youth, Jude teaches himself Classical Greek and Latin in his spare time, while working in his great-aunt’s bakery, with the hope of entering university. After a failed marriage, Jude moves to Christminster and supports himself as a mason while studying alone. There, he meets and falls in love with his free-spirited cousin, Sue, who also experiences failed marriage. The couple end up living together and have children, but they are socially ostracized and experience great deal of trouble.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens. Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society. While Hardy regarded himself primarily as a poet, initially he gained fame as the author of novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Most of his fictional works were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. They explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.

Project Gutenberg



Project Gutenberg

About unholypursuit

A. White, an award winning former librarian, who is also a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and later at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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2 Responses to JUDE THE OBSCURE by Thomas Hardy-Free copy at the bottom

  1. The free copy is the Project Gutenberg link.


  2. For anyone who remembers this novel, may record it is quite depressing. I do not a recommend reading if you are prone to emotional unrest and depression. It’s a story of tragic lives. Depressive, tragic lives on epic proportions. Jude and Sue were designed to be doomed from the start. They’re distant cousins. That alone should have been reason enough to stay away from each other.

    Aunt Drusilla warned Jude not to seek her out. He didn’t listen. From the start, Sue’s life was a tragic one. The schoolmaster Richard Phillotson kicks off the novel. He leaves his job as schoolmaster in the small town of Marygreen where Jude lives in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a scholar in Christminster. As we discover, this doesn’t really pan out for him: like Jude, he finds it impossible to break into the elite ranks of the university there, and Phillotson winds up struggling to make ends meet as a teacher just outside the city and moves on to his city of birth, Shanston. He could have never married Sue, she was too damaged by life. He was damaged by his own unattainable reaches.
    Like Richard Phillotson, Jude’s dreams were never attained due to classism not his intelligent.

    In regard to Richard, “He May Not Be Glamorous, But He’s a Good Guy When It Counts.”

    We want to make a case for good ol’ Phillotson. Since he competes with our hero Jude for Sue’s affections (and since we know that Sue finds him kind of gross), we generally side with Jude in the fight for Sue’s hand. However, we have to remember that Phillotson almost always acts out of kindness and does what he thinks is right. He is a noble guy and he means well, even if he and Sue have essentially no chemistry.

    Phillotson basically throws his life and ambition away to ensure that Sue will be happy. When he lets her leave, he loses his job, most of his money, and his standing in society, and yet he never says a bad word about her. When he is told to resign, he refuses, because he continues to believe that he made the right choice in letting Sue divorce him. Sue’s choices leave Phillotson penniless and broken, and yet he has no regrets about his relationship with her. He says:

    ‘I don’t go unless I am turned out. And for this reason; that by resigning I acknowledge that I have acted wrongly by her; when I am more and more convinced every day that in the sight of Heaven and by all natural, straightforward humanity, I have acted rightly’ (4.6.18).

    This is a man who sticks by his convictions, even if he has to go through shame, embarrassment, and ruin as a result. How can we not admire a guy like that?

    Little Father Time

    Little Father Time doesn’t show up until really late in the novel, but boy does he make his role count. From the moment we meet the child of Jude and Arabella, we know something is a little off. He gets his nickname because he is “Age masquerading as Juvenility” (5.3.42)—in other words, Little Father Time may be biologically a child, but spiritually, the kid is as old as Jiroemon Kimura.

    Little Father Time carries an unshakeable sadness with him that seems totally out of keeping with his young age. In spite of his love for Sue and his affection for Jude (whom he calls Mother and Father respectively), he just can’t seem to find happiness in anything around him:

    ‘I should like the flowers very much, if I didn’t keep thinking they’d all be withered in a few days!’ (5.5.87).
    We Were Not Expecting Little Father Time to Take Quite Such a Dark Turn …

    In spite of the fact that Little Father Time keeps talking about how miserable everything makes him, we did not actually expect him to turn to murder in Part Sixth, Chapter 2. And in fact, Hardy does not show us the actual scene of his murder of his younger siblings, nor does he give us direct insight into LFT’s thought processes—though we do get a warning sign, when LFT tells Sue before she leaves to meet Jude that, “If we children were gone there’d be no trouble at all” (6.2.31).

    LFT is a smart kid, and he can see that Sue and Jude are struggling financially and socially. Sue explains to him (from her own rather depressed perspective) that sometimes people don’t like to rent rooms to families with children, which is why she and Jude are struggling to find a place for all of them to live.

    But somehow, in spite of all of these warning signs, we still find the scene of Jude and Sue’s discovery of the three dead children absolutely shocking. What adds to our sense of horror is LFT’s pitiful suicide note: “Done because we are too menny” (6.2.40). His misspelling of “many” only reminds us how young LFT is when he makes this terrible, irreversible decision.

    But what really gets us about this whole scene is that LFT clearly, genuinely believes that he is helping Jude and Sue. His loves his parents, and he wants to improve their lives. He has killed himself and his siblings because they are “too menny”—they are a burden on their parents and, logically (according to LFT’s horrifying way of thinking), if there are fewer children, then Jude and Sue will be able to take care of themselves better.

    The cruel irony that LFT does the worst thing in the novel thinking that it is the best course of action is one of the things that has given Jude the Obscure a justifiable reputation for extreme grimness. How could anything be worse than this? That Tom Hardy is one grim fella.

    All That and Social Critique Too

    Little Father Time works as a (deeply grim) plot device to kill Jude and Sue’s two babies and himself, therefore starting the downward spiral that ultimately leads to Jude and Sue’s deaths. However, he is also in the novel to foreshadow what Hardy sees coming in the future if life in general doesn’t start improving:

    ‘It was in [Little Father Time’s] nature to do it. The doctor says there are such boys springing up amongst us—boys of a sort unknown in the last generation—the outcome of new views of life. They seem to see all its terrors before they are old enough to have staying power to resist them. He says it is the beginning of the coming universal wish not to live’ (6.2.43)

    In Little Father Time, we see the hints of a boy who is, for all intents and purposes, clinically depressed. He truly believes he never should have been born. But while today we might say that this boy needs some kind of intervention from a doctor, Hardy is writing at a time long before clinical services for mental health had become as varied and sophisticated as they are today. So when the doctor mentioned in this passage hears about Little Father Time, he diagnoses the boy as the symptom of a social rather than a medical problem.

    For the doctor, there is a whole generation of boys facing “new views of life”—new, modern ways of living—who have had to confront life in “all its terrors” before they have the emotional or mental resilience to deal with it. Little Father Time is Hardy’s grim view of things to come: as life becomes more and more unrelentingly cruel to good people, no one’s going to want to go on and there is going to be a “universal wish not to live.” You can’t get a vision of the future much more dire than this.

    Liked by 1 person

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