Jude the Obscure - Study Guide Part First, At Marygreen: Chapters 9-11 Summary & Analysis

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Part First, At Marygreen: Chapters 9-11 Summary

Chapter 9. Two months later, Arabella consults Dr. Vilbert and then tells Jude that she is expecting his child. Jude immediately agrees to marry her and the announcement is made the following Sunday. Jude's aunt warns him against marriage, telling him that people in their family do not do well in marriage. Jude then rents a small cottage on the road to Albertson and buys a pig for Arabella to raise. Their first night as man and woman, Jude is shocked to discover that Arabella's long braid of hair is not her own. Jude also learns that Arabella once worked in a public-house as a barmaid. A short time later, Jude learns that Arabella's pregnancy was fictional.

Chapter 10. It is the day set aside to kill the pig Arabella has raised, but a recent snow storm appears to have kept the butcher from their home. Jude makes a mess of killing the pig and Arabella becomes angry with him.

The following day Jude is walking home from Alfredston when he comes behind two of Arabella's friends and hears them discussing her false pregnancy. One of them suggests that Arabella had known there was no pregnancy from the very start despite her protest that she had truly believed herself pregnant when they married. When Jude gets home, he confronts Arabella with this information. Arabella denies it.

Chapter 11. The next morning Arabella is melting pig fat when she becomes annoyed with Jude for assuming that she purposely trapped him. Arabella begins throwing his books off the table in a rage. Jude becomes angry and forces her to stop, accidentally pulling her fake hair out of its braid. Arabella goes outside and begins screaming that Jude is a slave driver and abusive. Jude leaves the home and visits his aunt, who tells him about a fight between his parents that caused them to live separate lives for most of their marriage. The same happened to his father's sister and her husband. From his aunt's house, Jude goes to a public-house and has a few drinks. When he returns home, he finds that Arabella has left him.

Arabella comes to Jude and tells him that she wants to go to Australia with her parents. Jude gives her all the furnishings from the house, the money from the sale of the pig meat, and all his savings. A short time later Jude discovers that a great many of their shared furnishings, including a picture of himself he gave to Arabella as a wedding gift, were sold to a broker's shop. Jude decides to leave Arabella in the past and to focus on his desires to go to Christminster.

Part First, At Marygreen: Chapters 9-11 Analysis

Arabella takes her friend's advice and traps Jude into marriage by telling him that she is pregnant. After their wedding, Jude learns that Arabella's hair is fake and that she spent time working as a barmaid in a public-house. This completely alters who Jude thought Arabella was, but he decides to try to make the marriage work because of the child they are expecting. However, Jude soon learns that this child was fictional as well. Suddenly Jude finds himself in a marriage with a woman he barely knows and would not have sought out if he had known the few facts he has learned about her since they took their vows. In the end, Arabella leaves Jude when she realizes he cannot give her what she thought she wanted. This shows the reader the type of person Arabella is, a woman who only wants what she cannot have.

These chapters are the first to explore the theme of marriage. Marriage and its social expectations are a large part of the novel. The author has introduced in these chapters that marriage is not always what those who enter into it think it should be. Not only that, but the stories Jude's aunt tells him suggests that many marriages will end in unhappiness, forcing the two people bound to one another to forever remain so even if they cannot get along and do not want to be with one another. These suggestions and the disaster of Jude's first marriage suggest to the reader that there will be further exploration of the theme of marriage as the novel continues to develop.

This section contains 728 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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