Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy: The Tragedy of Naivete
This is the first book I read about by Thomas Hardy. It’s one of the books I can call ‘good reading’. Although I am not a fan of Thomas Hardy, I like this book very much. It is told the struggle to become a big and important person by going to a genocide town called Jude who lives in the rural part of Romania. But before the genocide, there is a woman who is not at all ethical, and then there are other obstacles. The struggle against all these obstacles is given by the author’s own style in response to the challenges given to life. Jude’s great and respectful struggle for education is then transformed into a gathering for love and a challenge to the church. However, in this struggle, in which the fate and society are oppressed, the human being is still affectionate.
Hardy invests all dominant norms in society in the table; the social class system, marriage, religion, sexuality, especially how organized religion can turn into a monster. Thomas Hardy, one of the forerunners of 19th century English literature with poems and novels, is telling a complicated life with a comprehensive text on rural life, which also serves as a fund in other Jude’s works. This novel, covering all phases of the life of the main character Jude Fawley, goes far beyond being a work of drawing a classic rural life chart, because it is compelling and daring in terms of the language and language used and the religious and social conditions of the time it was used. Jude Fawley is an unfortunate child in a family context, living a difficult life in Marygreen, pointing to a small universe. The separation of the teacher, Phillotson, who is the only person who positively affects his life, becomes a factor that increases the already existing hereditary unhappiness. But according to Jude, Christminster is not only a center for science and religion, but also a city of happiness. Reminiscent of a utopian city, Christminster is a world that is far beyond his time, able to make a man competent according to Jude. As a matter of fact, the fact that the idea of immigrating there is definite makes it possible for Jude to enter into the period of enlightenment and to do intellectual work on it.
The negativities in hero’s life also occur precisely in this period. For example, Jude does not always bring the books he wants when he promises a character, a mixture of doctor and charlatan, who constantly travels where he lived. Even though he does this, Jude is unbearable and starts to study with his own efforts. Arabella, one of the three great characters on the Roman axis and at the center of the agonies of Jude’s emotional and sexual life, is one of the most important details in which the novel is boldly brave. .. It is quite brave that it does just what it does to meet Jude, a cycle in which everyday life is surrounded by the church and therefore religion. Sue, who caused Jude to turn into a kind of Majnun along with Arabella, is the main source of the character’s and his emotional conflicts. Although the blood ties between them are back on the battlefield, they are on the ‘family’ and ‘unhappy marriages’ it is an element that reminds us of the importance of constantly emerging. It can be said that there are basically two breaking points in this novel. The first is that Jude meets Arabella and marries in a fast process, taking a very different life, which causes Jude to abandon his dream of Christminster and leave behind his idealistic character. A ‘pig cutting’ scene during the period of their marriage is a detail that shows the reader that a difference between the twin ceilings and a marriage that should never have happened. Arabella’s attempt to turn this event into a kind of ritual ceremony, the fact that the pig is respected because it is alive-even if it looks that way-reveals the basic incompatibility between the two.
Indeed, Jude is a naive character who is careful not to step on even the worms while walking in his childhood, as the author has clearly portrayed, and this scene is the first indication of the separation between him and his wife. The other breaking point is that they leave after wandering years with their husbands and go to Cristminster and meet their relative Sue there. Sue was certain about the fact that her natural marriage with Jude was complied with morality, because it was grounded on love rather than emotional pleasure as Arabella’s. But this still ran contradict to the then social moral principles which did not welcome the women who opposed to traditional marriage. Rejected by contemporary society, their legal marriage was delayed. They were disliked by the public because of their odd style of life. To avoid meeting Arabella and other friends, they decided to move off again.
As Jude requested, they returned to Christminster. However, there the pregnant Sue with their children was still rejected by many landlords. In order to find a place to live, Sue had no choice but to move about in the street with her eldest son Father Time. Then the tragedy happened: Father Time killed his brothers and sisters and then himself. Extremely astounded and grapes by the sadness of her children’s death, Sue, the once independent and fearless woman, finally broke down. She was affected by the mind of self-abasement before the law and the convention that she used to resist. Considering her first marriage solid, at last Sue returned to Phillotson, indulging herself in agony as his wife this time out of her own will. She sacrificed herself in her remarriage with Phillotson that was not satisfactory but conventionally accepted. Sue’s attempt to put her advanced ideas into effect proved to be a failure, which suggested that the gap between new women’s ideal world and the reality was large and deep. Sue’s ideal world was full of liberty, where people could exhibit their individual character in full swing, without being influenced by others. They are given the right to enjoy freedom in religion, political matters, love, and marriage.Based on more material things related to Arabella, Jude reveals his emotional tendencies in relation to Sue. Especially, Sue’s character based on ambiguities causes the death of Jude’s Cristminster-based utopian life, when Phillotson’s teacher becomes engaged. The rhetoric of the marriage institution of the characters of Jude’s marriage and non-marriage relations with Jude, Arabella and Sue, which has not been welcomed in the religious-based social life of the time, and which caused the beginning of an excommunication process, he played a big part in his fate.
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This is the first book I read about by Thomas Hardy. It’s one of the books I can call ‘good reading’. Although I am not a fan of Thomas Hardy, […]