Jude the Obscure - Study Guide Part Fifth, At Aldbrickham and Elsewhere: Chapters 1-4 Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Jude the Obscure.
This section contains 725 words
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Part Fifth, At Aldbrickham and Elsewhere: Chapters 1-4 Summary

Chapter 1. Sue and Jude are living in a house just outside of Aldbrickham and Jude is working as a tombstone maker. They receive the news that both their divorces have come through and Jude suggests they get married. Sue refuses, however, suggesting that marriage would alter their relationship and they would come to dislike one another. Jude is frustrated because Sue refuses to become intimate with him and they sleep in separate bedrooms still even though it has been many months since she left her husband.

Chapter 2. Jude comes home and learns that Arabella has been to the house to speak with him. Sue is threatened by this; therefore, when Arabella returns later that night she begs Jude not to speak to her. Jude goes after Arabella anyway, but returns because he was unable to find her. Sue begs Jude not to go out again and tells him that she will become his lover if he does not. The next morning, Jude begins planning their wedding. Sue feels guilty over refusing to allow him to speak to Arabella, so she goes to her hotel to make sure she is okay. Arabella tells Sue she should marry Jude so that she should have the protection of the law should he beat her or leave her.

Chapter 3. Jude is waiting for Sue when she returns home and they begin to walk to the parish clerk to register to be married. However, Sue tells Jude that Arabella's talk of the law made her wonder if marriage was not unfair to men and if it would be better for them to remain as they are. They decide to think on it for a while. As they are thinking, Jude receives a letter from Arabella telling him that she had a child eight months after leaving their marriage and that the child, a boy, has lived with her parents since birth. However, the parents no longer want the child and are sending him to England. Arabella does not want to take the child, so she asks Jude if he will. Both Sue and Jude decide they will take the child and that they should marry before his arrival. However, the child arrives that same night.

Chapter 4. Jude and Sue decide to marry immediately and to have the child christened with Jude's name. They register to marry, and on the appointed day, they go to the clerk's office with Widow Edlin as their witness. However, when they arrive and Sue sees the type of woman who marries there, women who are pregnant and women who trap drunk men, she begins to get cold feet. She and Jude talk and decide to put off the marriage until they can do it properly in a church.

Part Fifth, At Aldbrickham and Elsewhere: Chapters 1-4 Analysis

Sue and Jude are now living together, but Sue continues to keep Jude out of her bed. However, when Arabella comes back and Sue begins to fear that she will seduce Jude, she decides to let Jude make her his true lover. Sue clearly is in love with Jude, but her immaturity led her to believe that she could keep him with her without giving him all, but Arabella's continual reappearance in Jude's life leaves her feeling threatened. When they become lovers, Jude wants to marry her, but the theme of marriage comes again as the reader learns that Sue believes marriage is a contract that has the power to change the relationship, to give one partner power over the other and therefore create a situation that is not conducive to love.

Arabella once again shows her own personality when she announces in a letter to Jude that he has a child who must be five to seven years old by now. The reader now knows what it was that Arabella had wanted to tell Jude before, but she did not do it and now the announcement is quite a surprise. Not only this, but Arabella waits until the last minute to tell Jude so that the child arrives the same day he learns about his existence. This is an awkward situation, but Jude and Sue handle it with class. The reader can only hope that motherhood will help Sue grow up a little.

This section contains 725 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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