• Part I, Chapter 1: Mr. Phillotson, schoolmaster of the small village of Marygreen, is leaving to pursue his education in Christminster. A young orphan, Jude Fawley, comes to say goodbye; he is told by Mr. Phillotson that the measure of a man is his education.
• Part I, Chapter 2: Jude, who lives unwanted at a bakery with his aunt, is fired from his job chasing birds from a farmer's field when he is caught feeding them.
• Part I, Chapter 3: From the roof of a barn, Jude stares at the lights of Christminster, dreaming of going to school there. During the day he works in his aunt's bakery.
• Part I, Chapter 4: Jude attempts to get grammar books from a variety of people, but finally succeeds by slipping a note into a crate being shipped to Mr. Phillotson. Mr. Phillotson sends Jude some old grammar books, which he uses to begin his studies alone...
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