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«DEMOCRATIC AND POPULAR REPUBLIC OF ALGERIA MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH MENTOURI UNIVERSITY OF CONSTANTINE FACULTY OF LETTERS ...»

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DEMOCRATIC AND POPULAR REPUBLIC OF ALGERIA

MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

MENTOURI UNIVERSITY OF CONSTANTINE

FACULTY OF LETTERS AND LANGUAGES

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

The Conflict between the Ideal and the Social in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure A Dissertation Submitted in a Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Master Degree in British and American Studies

Supervised by: By:

Pr. Brahim Harouni Mr. Boussaad Ihaddadene Mr. Hamoudi Boughenout June 2010 Acknowledgement I would like to thank God for His guidance and help.

I would also like to thank my supervisors Pr. Harouni and Mr. Boughenout for their help and discussion of my topic.

I would like to thank all the teachers of the department of English of Mentoury University.

I Dedication To the memory of my mother To my father, to my brothers and my sisters and to all my friends and classmates.

II Abstract The purpose of my study is to show the conflict between idealism and society in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. In this novel, Hardy portrays the strife of the two individuals Jude and Sue to make their own ways in society by seeking to realise their ideals. He also reveals the difficulties met by the two idealists in front of society’s attempts to thwart their ideals and to force them to surrender to its norms. This study allows the reader to have a deep understanding of the origin of the conflict, the climax of the confrontation between the two opposing sides and the result of the conflict. In this respect, the present study helps the reader to acquire a thorough knowledge of Hardy’s thought and the values of the Victorian society to which he belongs.

III Résumé L’objectif de cette étude est de montrer le conflit entre l’idéalisme et la société décrit dans le roman de Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure. Dans ce roman, Hardy dépeint la lutte des deux individus Jude et Sue qui essayent de s’imposer dans la société en cherchant à réaliser leurs idéaux. L’auteur révèle aussi les difficultés que les deux idéalistes rencontrent en confrontant la société qui essaye à son tour de lés entraver et de les forcer à se soumettre à ses normes.

Cette étude permet au lecteur d’avoir une compréhension approfondie sur l’origine du conflit, le sommet de la confrontation entre les deux parties opposées et le résultat du conflit. A cet égard, mon étude aide le lecteur à acquérir une connaissance approfondie de la pensée de Hardy et les valeurs dela société Victorienne à laquelle il appartient.

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‫‪ Thomas Hardy‬المعىُوة ب : ‪‘Jude the‬‬ ‫تٍذف دساستً إلى إظٍاس الظشاع بٍه المثالٍة َ المجتمع فً سَاٌة‬ ‫’‪ٌ.Obscure‬ظُس ‪ Hardy‬فً ٌزي الشَاٌة كٍف لألفشاد أن ٌشقُا طشٌقٍم الخاص بٍم فً ٌزا المجتمع عبش التطلع‬ ‫لتحقٍق تظُساتٍم َ كفاحٍم ضذ المجتمع الزي ٌسعى إلى تثىٍٍم عه رلك َ إجباسٌم على إتباع معاٌٍشي. َ تسمح ٌزي‬ ‫الذساسة أن ٌكُن للقاسئ فٍم عمٍق ألطل ٌزا الظشاع َ تأجج المُاجٍات َ وتائج الظشاع. َ فً ٌزا اإلطاس تساعذ ٌزي‬ ‫الذساسة القاسئ مه اكتساب معشفة ٌتسشب مه خاللٍا لفكش ‪ َ Thomas Hardy‬قٍم المجتمع الفٍكتُسي الزي ٌىتمً إلًٍ.‬

–  –  –

Dedication………………………………………………………………………II Abstract………………………..…..………………………………………………………...III Table of Contact…………………………………………………………………………….VI General Introduction

Chapter One: The Victorian Society and Values

Introduction

Women’s Plight in the Victorian Age

A.

Domesticity and Subservience………………………………………………….. …...3 1.

2. Towards Emancipation……………………………………………………………….5 B. Material Progress and Optimism in the Victorian Age

C. Doubt and Pessimism in the Victorian Age

D. Class Division in the Victorian Age

The Upper Class………………………………………………………………… ….12 1.

The Middle Class………………………………………………………………... …13 2.

3. The Working Class…………………………………………………………………14 E. Victorian Novel and Victorian Society

Conclusion

Chapter Two: The Struggle between Idealism and Society............... 24 Introduction

A. Idealism versus Social Reality

New Woman’s Ideals versus Conventional Marriage…………………………….25 1.

–  –  –

3. Academic Aspirations versus Social Obstacles……………………………….........33 B. Defeat of Idealism and Daybreak of Pessimism





Sue’s Resignation……………………………………………………………………36 1.

Jude’s Failure and Death …………………………………………………………..38 2.

Little Father Time and Pessimism …………………………………………………41 3.

Conclusion

General Conclusion

Bibliography:

–  –  –

Thomas Hardy is one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era, in his novels he seeks to diagnose human ills and then endeavours to find a remedy to them. The majority of his novels were set in rural England where the Industrial Revolution had already brought changes to the lifestyle of the countryside. As a result, the pastoral values had been swallowed by the new urban lifestyle, and people of the countryside began to shift to the cities seeking for jobs, education and means to share with the urban dwellers the progress and the optimism of the Victorian age. The invention of railways brought all the regions of Britain together with one culture and social system. All the ideas that had once been alien to once remote region became well known and easily to be acquainted with.

In this respect, in Hardy‟s Jude the Obscure the hero Jude, though a small boy living in a remote village knows that there exists somewhere outside his village, a city called Christminster which opens the opportunity for a university life to enthusiastic and hard working individuals like him. However, as an idealist, Jude finds the city he idealises is repulsive to him and his ideas and the university is snobbish and hostile to man of humble origins like him. Later on, his love of the urban New Woman Sue and their agreement to stand together against society fails after the resignation and submission of Sue due to the tragic death of her offspring. At the end, Jude dies unhappily alone without fulfilling his dreams.

The aim of this humble work is to show the conflict between idealism and society and to stress the impossibility of a harmonious relationship between them. The purpose of this endeavour is also meant to permit the reader to have a deep insight into the core of the conflict between the two opposed parties that is to answer the question of when, why and how is the conflict between the ideal and the social. In so doing, the study allows the reader to have a thorough understanding of the origin of the conflict, it climax and the how it ends. My work is divided into two chapters. The first chapter is a historical and literary background of the Victorian period. The second and the final chapter introduces the reader to the core of the conflict between idealism and Society with the result of this conflict.

The first chapter is devoted to the study of the Victorian society and values. First, it discusses the plight of the Victorian women that is the shift from domesticity and subservience towards emancipation brought by the development of the feminist movement.

This chapter discusses also the progress and the optimism of the Victorian society then, it will treat the question of religious doubt and the shift from optimism to pessimism brought by the spread of Darwinism or evolutionism, which turned the Victorian values upside-down. This is followed with a discussion of class division within the Victorian society. Finally, the chapter moves to the discussion of the relationship between the Victorian novel and the Victorian society.

The second chapter is concerned with a presentation of the conflict between the idealism and society in Thomas Hardy‟s Jude the Obscure. It discusses the contrast between Sue or new Women‟s idealism and the requirements of the conventional marriage, and then it focuses attention on the clash between Jude‟s romanticism and Darwinism of social reality. In addition, it emphasises the contrast between Jude's academic aspirations and social obstacles that try to prevent him from realizing his dreams. The next stage of this chapter concentrates on the defeat of idealism and the characters who espoused this position. The rise of pessimism of Little Father Time, which changed the course of the novel and put an end to the optimism of Jude and Sue, brought a new mood of pessimism and finally resulted in the tragic end of the strife of the two idealists.

Chapter One: The Victorian Society and Values Introduction The Victorian age is an age of paradoxes. It was an age of religion and an age of irreligion, an age of progress and optimism, and an age of poverty and pessimism, an age of men‟s domination, but also an age of women‟s emancipation. Free from all these paradoxes, it is an „Age of Novelists‟ par excellence. Therefore, Queen Victoria‟s reign is considered as an age where the impossible was possible and vice versa. This chapter of my study will discuss how Victorian men regard women‟s role and how women reacted and freed themselves from the exploitation and prejudices. Then it will discuss the Victorian optimism and belief in progress. After that, it will move to show how the Victorians lost their religious beliefs and how they switched to pessimism. I shall also deal with the class division and finally it will deal with the relation between the Victorian novel and the Victorian society.

A. Women Plight in the Victorian Age

1. Domesticity and Subservience During the reign of Queen Victorian, the place of women was in the home.

Domesticity and motherhood were considered as the ideal status for women, and for a woman to remain pure she has to keep herself far away from the public sphere. Most of Victorians cherished the idea of purity and femininity of women. Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) in his poem The Princess conveys the strong Victorian belief in the domination of men over women

and the inevitability of the separation of their spheres of duty:

–  –  –

Moreover, the transformation of Britain into an industrial urban nation had a profound impact on the perception of female‟s role, and it had widened the gulf between man and woman. To gain the respect and the satisfaction of their husbands, Victorian wives had to create very sustainable conditions at home, and to provide their husbands with a kind of refuge in order to escape from the harshness and monotony of daily life. In addition, Victorian women were obliged to be sexually attractive and tireless to “soothe the savage beast her husband might become as he fought in the jungle of free trade” (Damrosch 579). More strikingly, most Victorian artist portrayed women as courteous, serviceable, submissive and fertile creatures. Coventry Patmore‟s popular poem Angel in the House (1854-1863) epitomises the way the Victorian man idealised the wife who was selflessly subservient and devoted to her husband. Furthermore, the medical science had also contributed to reinforce the common views on women. Women are a „weak sex‟, because of their intellectual and physical inferiority and their inabilility to resist to strong passions, to think seriously or endure exercises, which demand strong physical efforts. Therefore, only as nurturers of their children and subjects to men‟s instincts, can women boast of their „femininity‟ (ibid 579).

Education played also a crucial role in the subjection and subservience of women. Victorian women received an education that taught them how to succumb to men‟s role and how to show decency to the social norms that dictated so.

With regard to this issue, Victorian women suffered not only from the prejudice that characterised this era, but also from the burden of the major responsibilities of the house. As a “chancellors of the domestic exchequer” (Liddington 32), working class wives were expected to be more frugal and thrifty so as not to cause bankruptcy to their husbands. Victorian men used all terms to refer to a good woman, such as patience, resignation, acceptance, submission, and son on. Men succeeded in surrendering women and in pushing them to accept docilely the despotic principles of the “patriarchal ideology” (Eagleton 43). In the second half of the nineteenth century, there was half a million women more than men and there emerged the problem of “surplus woman” (Lerner 176). Consequently, the imbalance between the sexes pushed women who could not find a husband to prostitution in order to earn their own livings.

2. Towards Emancipation Around the turn of the nineteenth century, a growing number of the middle class feminists began to question women‟s role and tried to redirect the opinion of the Victorian society towards a new implication of women in all domains of life, be it social economic, political and. John Stuart Mill, in his book The Subjection of Women published in 1869, stressed the inevitability of reform of women„s legal and voting rights. He claimed that “the legal non-existence of women... [was the principal cause of] their subordination”... (Harris 76). Mill protested against laws which favoured men and neglected women, and argued in

favour of the principle of equality between the two sexes. He says:



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