Jude the Obscure Setting & Symbolism

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.
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Jude teaches himself Latin and Greek from books he received from Mr. Phillotson. Later, Jude teaches himself great literature and religion from books he saves up to buy.

Bread Cart

Jude drives a bread cart for his aunt's bakery during his teen years, but he spends the whole time reading instead of paying attention to where the horse is going.


Jude and Sue travel frequently between towns on the train. At one point, a porter mistakenly takes them for lovers and gives them a compartment all their own.


When Sue and Jude return to Christminster with their children, Sue finds a room at a private home near two universities. The children sleep in a closet in this room. Sue finds the children hanging by their necks in this closet the following morning due to a misunderstanding between her and Young Jude.


Sue stands on her children's coffins and refuses the caretaker to fill in their graves until she has been allowed to see them again. Jude coaxes her out of the grave only to have her give premature birth to their final child who also dies.

Training School

Sue attends a training school in Melchester that is to help her get her certificate in teaching. However, Sue dislikes the discipline instituted there and eventually runs away, only to be refused reentry. This leads to the scandal that causes Sue to marry Phillotson.


Marygreen is the small village in North Wessex where Jude lives as a child.


Alfredston is a small town five miles from Marygreen where Jude is apprenticed to a stone-mason.


Christminster is a university town just outside of North Wessex. It is thought that Christminster is a fictional town that is a fictionalized version of Oxford. Jude dreams of studying in Christminster his entire childhood and is devastated to learn he cannot because of his lack of wealth. Later, Jude brings his family here only to have his eldest child hand himself and his siblings because of the burden he believes them to be.


Melchester is another university town where Sue goes to get her teaching certificate. Jude follows in hopes of becoming a licentiate in the church, but fails to follow through when Sue breaks his heart by marrying Phillotson.


Aldbrickham is a town east of Marygreen where Jude and Sue live in the early days of their intimate relationship. It is here from which Jude and Sue flee when people begin to ostracize them for not being married.


Arabella lives in London during the majority of the novel. Sue also once lived in London with a young scholar with whom she refused to have sexual relations even though they shared the same apartment.

This section contains 458 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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