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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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This means that Sue is the product of the feminist movement of the late nineteenth century Britain and as a free intellectual, she inclines toward modernity which is characterised by nervousness and mental unrest. Sue‟s ideal of freedom came from childhood and later on from her reading of male authors like John Stuart Mill. Old Miss Fawley, Jude‟s aunt, depicts Sue to Jude as a rebellious and self-conscious girl. According to Miss Fawley, Sue experienced a childhood different from that of her fellow girls and that if the latter succumbed to the limits traced to their femininity, Sue surpassed those limits and managed to “do things that only boys do, as a rule” (134). In addition, Sue‟s reading of Mill taught her a masculine behaviour, enlightened her intellect, and facilitated her conversion to manliness as a source of “light, freedom and instruction” (Blake 212). In this sense, Sue follows her own ideals and becomes prototypical of the emancipated Victorian „New Woman‟ or „Unwomanly Woman‟.

When Sue and Phillotson decide to marry, she sends a letter to Jude asking him to give her away in the church. Sue writes, “According to the ceremony as there printed, my bridegroom chooses me of his own will and pleasure; but I don‟t choose him. Somebody gives me to him, like a she-ass or she-goat, or any other domestic animal” (203). Sue makes no difference between marriage in the church and negotiation in the market place. For her women are seen as properties or other docile animals. Sue protests against the church morality which reduces the relationship between a man and a woman to a matter a of “Property transaction” (Jacobus 202). In this sense, the British novelist D.H. Lawrence argues that Sue considers marriage as “a submission, a service [and] slavery” (qtd. in Guerard71). After her marriage with Phillotson, Sue discovers that it is her ignorance and confusion which lead her to accept the compromise, she also realises how disgusting is marriage and how incompatible it is the relationship between being bond and wanting to materialise one‟s dreams. When Sue goes to attend the funeral of Jude‟s aunt Drusilla, she confesses to Jude that she is miserable in her marriage. After sacrificing herself to the morality marriage, Sue has a new perception

of herself:

–  –  –

experienced. I rushed on... with all the cock-sureness of the fool that I was!.... I am certain one ought to be allowed to undo what one has done so ignorantly! I daresay it happens to

–  –  –

After experiencing a bitter marital relationship with Phillotson, Sue decides to urge her husband to release her in order to return to her idealistic life. She quotes from J. S. Mill in order to impress her husband: “she, or he, “who lets the world, or his own portion of it, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation” (267). Even though, Phillotson responds indifferently to Sue‟s demand saying, “What do I care about J.S. Mill!”(267), he agrees to let her live separately within their home. Philloston seems to understand that there is a „moral code‟ built on some principles other than existing laws or religious convictions (Youngkin 130). In so doing, Sue makes a step ahead in her struggle against some “accepted formalities of civilisation” (Howells 158). Like Sue, Mona Caird, an advocate of women‟s rights, argues that the perfect marriage does not need legal ties to bind two individuals together and that any obligation imposed from law or society is „impertinence‟ (qtd. in Moseley 8). Throughout the novel, Sue questions both legal and religious doctrines of the nineteenth century and she tries to envision different moral code, that is the one which is not based on religion or law but on the principle of individual happiness and equality for women.

Unlike Sue who strives to go beyond fixed opinions and prejudice, Arabella, not at all concerned with the feminist plight, is Hardy‟s „stereotypical sexual adventurer‟ who coarsely and hypocritically tends to soothe society‟s established vision of women( Notgrass 44). That is, Arabella is not interested in whether she is free or not, but her only goal is to satisfy her sexual desires and flatters society so as not to be alienated from it. Arabella‟s relation with men is a purely sexual one, and to show how lustful she is in her relationships with me, Hardy uses the passage of the pig penis where Arabella shows to Jude that she is sexually available. In so doing, Arabella sets out deliberately to catch a man by showing him her sexual capacities and by trapping him into marrying her by false representation. Unlike Sue, Arabella is the character who represents social conventions, she conforms to „dogmas of marriage‟ because she believes that only through marriage can a woman soothe her sexual desires and survive in the hypocritical Victorian society. Arabella regards a husband as someone who protects her and satisfies her sexually. When her friends asks her of the reasons behind the seduction of Jude, she replies “„I‟ve got him to care for me; I want him to more than care for me‟” (56).

Throughout the novel Arabella remains constant in her attitude and seeks only for suitable means to realise her ends. She does not care whether succumbing to the morality of marriage represents a compromise to her moral integrity as woman. The feminist‟s idea that conventional marriage enslaves women has nothing to do with Arabella‟s policy of survivalism. She leaves Jude when she realises that he is not able to protect her. Then she marries Cartlett and when he dies, she remarries with Jude and when the latter dies, she has recourse to Vilbert. Arabella believes in the inevitability and usefulness of conventional





marriage. She urges Sue to legally marry Jude because she thinks:

Life with a man is more business-like after it, and money matter work better. And then, you

–  –  –

which you can‟t otherwise.... I‟ll advise you to get it the business legally done as soon as possible. You‟ll find it an awful bother later on if you don‟t. (320-321) Arabella believes that only through conformism to conventional thought can one ensure his survival. As she, states she regards no difference between getting married and doing business.

Arabella conforms to the legality of Victorian marriage as the only way for protecting herself from being thrown out of the house without having recourse to the protection of law.

As free spirit, Sue carries on the struggle against oppression of social norms. When she escapes from her husband Phillotson in order to live with her companion Jude, Sue refuses to give her body to the latter. She loathes sexuality and regards Arabella lack of ideals and spirit, as being „fleshly and coarse‟ and as „low-passionate women.‟ Later on, when Sue and Jude decide to marry in the church, she feels a sudden repulsion for this kind of marriage by telling Jude “it spoils the sentiment” (334). Here Sue stresses the idea that all the emotional ties between her and Jude would become a „business-like relationship‟ if not protected from the conventionality of the church. Her belief that “there is a little poetry [or romance] in a church” (334), conveys the same feeling expressed by the heroine Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd that “all romance end at marriage (254). However, after the tragic death of her children especially, the unborn child, Sue gives up the struggle and returns to her husband Phillotson, and therefore, surrenders herself totally to “the Gospel of selfsacrifice”7(Showalter 29).

–  –  –

The spread of Darwinism in the second half of Queen Victoria‟s reign had swallowed the idealism and the optimism of the Romantics claiming that “the instinctive, joyful response to the world… is not enough, because pain and death are realities which cannot be overlooked” (Williams58). Darwinism had swept away the feeling of optimism and brought a new mood of pessimism by maintaining that „life is no pleasure, but meanness‟. Darwinism had also changed the views of nature and Darwin‟s portrayal of life as a ceaseless and „competitive struggle‟ between species brought about the end the Romantic‟s depiction of nature as a compassionate, „nurturing force‟ and spread an awareness of nature‟s cruelty.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson‟s famous poetic description, “Nature, red in tooth and claw” demonstrates the Darwinian perception of nature (kepos 110). In Hardy‟s Jude the obscure, the character Jude sticks to the „romantic sensibility‟ of the early nineteenth century, but the Sue succumbs to the role assigned by the Christian religion to women.

incompatibility of romanticism to the requirements of the new and passionless Darwinian society makes the conflict between him and his fellow humans sharp and enduring.

Despite living in a miserable village and experiencing the harshness of nature there, Jude espouses romanticism as the centrepiece of his daily conduct. At this point, Jude believes that the only way to reach his noble aims is to seek for an absolute detachment from the morality of the crowd. With a strong devotion to his romantic beliefs, Jude shows sympathy not only to his fellow human, but also to all the living beings. As a boy, Jude creates harmony between him and the living things around him and as a selfless person, he prefers to be punished and paid off by farmer Trouthman, with whom he works, than to deprive the birds from eating the corns, because “his heart grew sympathetic with the birds‟ thwarted desire”(11). He addresses them with a Wordworthian poetical beauty: “Poor little dears!

....You shall have some dinner-you shall. There is enough for us all.... Eat, then, my dear little birdies, and make a good meal!”(11). Jude‟s expression of the romantic feeling finds no harmony in the outer life. Instead of scaring the birds, because it is in reality a question of the “struggle [of species] with each other which shall get food and live”(Darwin 116), Jude observes the “face of nature bright with gladness”(Ibid 116) and “forgets that the birds which are idly singing around[him] mostly live on insects or seeds, and are constantly destroying life(ibid116). This is the contrast between Jude‟s perception of the birds and what they really are to the disciples of Darwin like farmer Trouthman. The birds which create a feeling of sympathy in Jude‟s heart does have in reality any feeling of romanticism,because like humans, they are mere beasts struggling for existence and suffering destruction from the more powerful than them and causing the destruction to the less powerful than them like insects and seed or corns of farmer Trouthman. Jude‟s romanticism is interrupted by the punishment of farmer Throutman. When Jude contemplates the world around him while lying upon his back, “on a heap of litter near the pig-sty” (15), Hardy poses the problem of befriending

Jude‟s romanticism and society‟s Darwinism. To describes Jude meditation, Hardy wrote:

Events did not rhythm quite as he had thought. Nature‟s logic was too horrid for him to care for. [Jude realises] that mercy towards one set of creatures was cruelty to another sickened

–  –  –

From his contemplation, Jude realises how conflicting is his feeling with the harshness of outer reality and how joyful is the feeling of childhood which is in the way to be devoured by realisations when he grows older. This sentiment can be associated with Wordsworth‟s belief that wisdom is only found in childhood and that growing older and coming into contact with the reality of life corrupts ours innocence. Despite, this sudden epiphany8, Jude comes out again from the devilish thought and Hardy suggests, “All was well with him again” (13). To

show how kind and how harmless is Jude Hardy writes:

–  –  –

of young birds without lying awake in misery half the night after, and often reinstating them and the nest in their original place the next morning. He could scarcely to see trees cut down or lopped,

–  –  –

Jude‟s marriage with the Darwinian Arabella represents a sharp conflict between two opposing creeds, the one based on sympathy and the other based on cruelty. Hardy brings the two opposing characters together in order to allow his readers gain a deep insight to the core of the conflict and see by themselves how inharmonious is the life they are going to lead together. The scene of the pig killing opens the conflict between Arabella‟s cruelty and Jude‟s kindness. Jude sees the killing as “hateful business” (76), while Arabella replies simply by A moment of sudden revelation.

“pigs must be killed” (76). When Jude says; “Thank god! He is dead” (76), Arabella responds “what‟s god got to do with such a messy job as a pig-killing, I should like to know!” She said scornfully “poor folks must live” (76). Arabella calls Jude a “tender-hearted fool” (77). For Arabella the pig is just an object and its suffering does not produce any feeling in her, but for Jude as romantic his heart aches with grief for what they did to his fellow pig. Here each of the two opposing poles tries to defend his own ideology. If Arabella and society in general see the action of the pig killing as “an ordinary obtaining of meat” (76), because it is a matter of „big fish eat small fish‟ business, but to Jude seeing the “blood of his fellow-mortal” (77) is the most dreadful thing.

Unlike Jude the romantic, Arabella has a pragmatic and realistic interpretation of things and she “recognises no value in man‟s ability to personalise the world in way that define the ethical norms of his humanity” (Benvenuto 190). That is to say, she denies any attempt to give a romantic interpretation of the world and that when it becomes a matter of survival, human values must be put aside in order to pave the way to bestiality to prevail.



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