Jude the Obscure - Study Guide Part Sixth, At Christminster Again: Chapters 1-4 Summary & Analysis

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Part Sixth, At Christminster Again: Chapters 1-4 Summary

Chapter 1. When Sue, Jude, and the children arrive at Christminster, they discover that it is Remembrance Day, a day of celebration and ceremony. Instead of looking immediately for lodging, Jude takes the family to see the arrival of the new bishops. Someone in the crowd asks what the plague written in Latin on the wall means and Jude explains. Someone else recognizes Jude and asks him about his desire for education. This causes Jude to make a loud speech about how education should be available to all men, not just the wealthy. Sue keeps trying to keep Jude quiet, but he refuses to listen. Later Jude learns that Sue spotted Phillotson in the crowd and did not want him to notice them.

After the procession, Jude takes the family to a neighborhood that is sandwiched between two universities to look for lodging. Unfortunately, each home they go to refuses to give them a room when they see the children and Sue's condition. They finally find one home willing to take Sue and the children, but not Jude. They agree to it for a week, but when the husband returns home he becomes angry and insists that they leave the following day.

Chapter 2. Young Jude becomes distressed by this situation and worries about what they will do without a place to live. Sue tries to be honest with him by telling him she is pregnant and that there will be another child to worry about. Young Jude becomes agitated with her and begs to know how she could let such a thing happen. Sue sends the child to bed and his final words before sleep is that they should never have been born. The next morning Sue goes early to tell Jude about their situation. Jude insists they have breakfast together before returning to retrieve the children and look for other lodging.

When Sue goes to wake the children, she discovers that Young Jude has hung the two younger children and himself. Sue and Jude are both devastated by this. Jude attempts to console Sue, but her grief consumes her. After the coroner's inquest, Jude attends the funeral. When he returns home, Sue is missing. Jude finds her inside the children's grave begging to see them one last time. Jude takes her home and calls for a doctor. Later that night Sue gives birth to a premature baby, who also dies.

Chapter 3. Sue recovers her health, but turns to the church in her grief. Sue comes to believe that she is being punished for not honoring her marriage vows to Phillotson. Jude and Sue argue often about this. Sue also begins to attend church once again. Jude tries to talk sense into her, to remind her of her own beliefs that she made his as well. Sue will not listen. Arabella comes to visit them and tells them that she is living with her father now. As they talk, Sue insists that she is not Jude's wife and will not allow Arabella to refer to her in that way.

Later one night Jude finds Sue in a nearby church. Jude speaks to her and learns that she has decided that they should separate. Sue asks Jude to find another place to live. Sue insists that she is still in love with Jude, but that she cannot live in sin with him any longer. Jude is beaten down and finally agrees to leave.

Chapter 4. Arabella seeks out Phillotson and tells him about the deaths of Sue's children and her desire to separate from Jude. Arabella encourages Phillotson to contact Sue. Phillotson writes to Sue and tells her that he would be willing to take her back if she so desired. Sue tells Jude of Phillotson's letter and informs him that she plans to return to Phillotson. Sue believes that by remarrying Phillotson she will correct the wrong that caused the deaths of her children. Phillotson believes he can reinstate his career with a return of his wife. Jude is simply left alone.

Part Sixth, At Christminster Again: Chapters 1-4 Analysis

Sue and Jude return to the place where it all began, Christminster. Jude is still fascinated with the universities he will never be allowed to study inside of, but he has let go of his dream and now focuses on his growing family. However, that family finds it difficult to find the lodging that was once so easy for Jude as a single man to find. This leads to tragedy when Young Jude comes to the conclusion that children are all unwanted and simply get in the way. This feeling is similar to the one Jude once had that led him to come to Christminster in the first place. Young Jude reacts differently, however, killing his half brother and sister before killing himself.

The devastation of losing her children causes Sue to turn to the church, an entity she once mocked. Sue has decided that she is being punished for living in sin with Jude and that the only way to fix what has happened is to return to her husband despite the fact that they are now divorced. Jude fights for Sue but is forced to let her go when she fails to respond to his arguments. In the end, Phillotson sees Sue's grief as a way to regain all he lost in allowing her to go to Jude in the first place. It is a sad situation in which two people are using each other for all the wrong reasons, symbolizing all that is wrong with marriage as Sue once pointed out. In the end, Jude is left alone with his grief and without the religion that once would have been a solace to him.

This section contains 968 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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