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Indeed, Arabella believes that the ends justify the means, she kills the pig in order to get meat and she marries Jude in order to soothe her bestial desires and ensure self-preservation. She gets rid of her child, Little Father Time, because she sees no interests in keeping him with her as a parasite. She reacts to Jude death exactly as she did to his fellow pig by claiming, “Weak woman must provide for a rainy day” (481). Arabella shows neither compassion nor mercy to the others, her sole goal is to be “victorious... in the great battle of life” (Darwin 127). Often in contrast with Arabella, Jude does not dehumanize his vision of life, though he suffers because of it. Indeed, regardless the suffering he endures throughout the novel, Jude tends to ignore the cruel and the “sordid crises of real life” (Ellis 163). Despite experiencing despair when dwelling in Chrisminster, Jude gets up in the middle of the night to help a rabbit so as not to suffer longer in the trap. No matter how society, Arabella as sample, tries to shake his romantic and humanistic beliefs; however, Jude responds spontaneously by showing that his heart is still aching with sensitivity to the suffering of things around him. The heroism of Jude “derives in large measures from the suffering he endures because he does not dehumanise his vision into conformity with the impersonal laws of nature” (Benvenuto 193).
3. Academic Aspirations versus Social Obstacles Jude manages to endure his own life in creating ideals by which to live. From the opening pages of the novel, Hardy shows to us Jude as a child of eleven different from his fellow children. Jude starts to dream of an intellectual life in Chrisminster (Oxford), regardless of his age and his humble origins; Jude wants to invent his own path before becoming older. His determination as child is well expressed in his conversation with the schoolmaster Phillotson who quits the village Marygreen for the university city of Chrisminster to be a scholar and a clergyman there. When Jude asks the schoolmaster for the reasons behind his departure, the latter replies that he is not mature enough to inquire about such things, Jude responds by “I think I should now, sir” (4). This expresses Jude‟s strong determination and reveals the “disparity between his imaginative world and the real world” (Davis). Jude‟s, as an idealist, considers his relationship with the schoolmaster as the relation of all great scholars with their masters. Thus, the schoolmaster for Jude is the only person who is capable of helping him to implement the dream of becoming a scholar. As Hardy points it out “tears rose into the boy‟s eyes, for he was not among the regular day scholars, who came... close to the schoolmaster‟s life” (4). Despite the disillusionment after losing contact with his schoolmaster, Jude still keeps faith in his capacities to surpass social obstacle and reach the city of his dreams or the “heavenly Jerusalem” as he calls it.
Moreover, Jude‟s first vision of Christminster after waiting for the mist to disappear reveals his longing for the city and his clinging to the academic dreams upon which his life is built. The appearance of the city with its „shining spots‟ sustains Jude in his miserable life in the dark and hypocritical village Marygreen and gives him a moral strength to carry on the struggle against the limits imposed by his origins and his class. In so doing, Jude separates himself from the rest of the villagers and creates an „ideal city‟ in his inner life, but if his ideals are strong enough to resists to the „heavy blows‟, society has also an important role to play in trying to force him to abort his dreams before reaching maturity. Jude thinks that he “reconstitute the world, while in fact he only creates substitutes, and reality remains intractable” (Hasset 433). This reveals how far Jude is from the reality of social life in front of him. To show how obsessed is Jude with quest for an ideal life; Hardy makes the obsession clear in the following comment: “he suddenly grew older. It had been the yearning of his heart to find something to anchor on, to cling to-for some place which he could call admirable”( 24). Nevertheless, Jude is not crippled by his „romantic drunkenness‟9 and works hard in assisting his aunt in the day and devoting the night to the acquisition of Greek and Latin language spoken in the university.
Society‟s first attempt to hamper the poor orphaned Jude comes from the trickster Vilbert, the quack-doctor, who forgets to provide him with Greek and Latin grammar that he promised him. Later on, Jude sends a letter to Mr. Phillotson asking him for grammars of Greek and Latin, but when the books arrive, he discovers that the books cannot be understood without a teacher, and that “the charm he had supposed in store for him was really a labour like that of Israel in Egypt”(31). It is through the incidents that society begins infiltrating the „ideal city‟ of Jude and tries to thwart the pursuit of his ideals by redirecting his attention toward the bitterness and devilishness character of social reality. Despite receiving „moments A detachment from the real world.
of sight‟, Jude chooses to turn his back to these social realities and endeavours to study Greek and Latin until he succeeds to learn them alone. Another attempt from society to prevent Jude from sticking to his grand dreams comes from the fleshy, animalistic and the philistine Arabella Donn who seduces him and traps him into marrying her.
Although, Jude is aware that courting is “repugnant to his ideas” (50); however, he falls easily the victim of Arabella‟s sexual incitement. Later when Jude makes up his mind to go to Chrisminster, Arabella feigns pregnancy in order to trap him into marrying her. After his marriage with Arabella, Jude discovers that he will never materialise his dreams as long as he lives with the philistine10 Arabella especially, when the latter dares to throw his books and smears them with the pig fat. As a result, Jude quarrels with his wife and breaks their relationship. Therefore, Jude sets himself free and decides to go to Chrisminster without knowing what the future reserves for him. When Jude arrives to Chrisminster he discovers how different is the real city from the one he idealises, and becomes aware also that “what at night had been perfect and ideal was by the day the more or less defective real” (99). The social reality deepens Jude‟s sense of despair when the college to which he applies, responds by advising him to give up his academic aspirations and cling to stone-masonry. The town does not give any sign of intellectual life and that the “struggling men and women before [Jude] were the reality of Christminster” (141). When Jude discovers that, the city that he idealises and trusts has deceived him by showing neither respect nor sympathy to him; he turns to alcoholic drinks and gives up his reading. However, Jude does not respond in the same way as Christminster treats him, and continues to consider it as the centre of learning.
To show how consistent is Jude‟s love of the city, Sue says to Arabella:
A person who is hostile arts and culture, I used it here to refer to Arabella‟s way of treating the books of Jude.
what is, a nest of commonplace schoolmasters whose characteristic is timid obsequiousness
Therefore, Christminster is deeply engraved in the heart of Jude and although he discovers how contradictory his perception of the city is and what it really is, Jude sees it as a
centre of learning which has produced many a man of thought. In this respect, he says:
I love the place-although I know how it hates all men like me-the so-called Self-taught, how it scorns our laboured acquisitions, when it should be the first to respect them...Nevertheless, it is the centre of the universe to me, because of my early dream: and
Jude‟s childhood dreams have a great impact on the rest of his life. No matter how he tries to dislike Chrisminster after a series of misfortunes there; however, Jude‟s early love of it urges him to love the city more and more.
B. Defeat of Idealism and Daybreak of Pessimism
After the death of her children, Sue relinquished her own ideals and realises that the struggle of the new woman to make her own way in society is futile. Thus, she is driven toward espousing resignation as psychological response to failure. She urges Jude to give up the struggle and conform to societies rules. Sue loses faith in the optimism New Woman‟s creed and embraces submission and acceptance of her role as an Angel in the House. Sue says
to Jude after the disaster of the death of their children:
We must conform!.... [She continues] All the ancient wrath of the Power above us has been vented upon us, his poor creatures, and must submit.... It is no use fighting against God!.... I have no more strength left; no more enterprise I am beaten, beaten!.... (409-410) Sue final resolution to conform and go to bend to her husband, suggests that the New Women‟s ideals still seemed impossible to realise. The lack of Sue„s self-confidence and perseverance is the principle cause of her weakness. More striking is the belief that rebelling against social norms is a blasphemy. It also suggests that there is no room for Sue in a society, which does not value nonconformist ideas. For Hardy “the chief source of man‟s misery is his possession of consciousness” (Paris 3). Thus, it is also from this pessimistic outlook that we come to realise that the reasons behind Sue resignation is her realisation that possessing consciousness in her chaotic society is a fallacy. Jude is astonished of the sudden change of
One thing troubled him more than any other; that sue and himself had mentally travelled in opposite directions since the tragedy: events which had enlarged his own views of life,
longer the same as in the independent days, when her intellect played like lambent lightning over conventions and formalities which he at that time respected, though he did not now (411-412).
Jude finds that it is unbelievable that Sue whom he adores and with whom he makes a coalition in order to fight some accepted ideas, has turned to be a mere she-goat in the „morality of the herd‟11. That is, how can the intellectual, the New Women and free spirit Sue Bridehead be reduced to a submissive woman, knowing that her intellect is not made for docility. If in Troy the coward Paris succeeds to kill Achilles by targeting his weak heel, society has defeated Jude by taking profits from the fragility of the character of his allied Sue.
Therefore, the defeat of Sue in front of social conventions can be attributed to her vulnerability, “inconsistency and elusiveness in the light of formal difficulties” (Langland 225). The fall of Sue can also be attributed to the existence of two contradictory characters, the spiritual and fleshy, within her. Throughout the novel, Sue endeavours to reach a high intellectual or spiritual position by repressing her sexuality and submitting it to the logic of her intellect. When she lives with Jude whom she calls a companion, she does not give her I borrowed the idea from the German philosopher Nietzsche.
body to him fearing that it would compromise her moral integrity, but when Jude threatens her by having recourse to the fleshy Arabella, Sue decides to give herself to him and paves the way to her second nature to prevail and replace the ideal or the spiritual one. In so doing, Sue is unable to “evade the woman‟s status as an erotic object through her role of the New Woman” (Harvey 172). Mary Jacobus, a feminist critic, argues that “Sue is broken by her femaleness” (1). She adds “the cogency of [Hardy‟s] general plea combines with his portrayal of Sue‟s individual „obscurity‟; the realistic sense of the gap between what she thinks and what she does[and]between[her] belief and[her]behaviour...(qtd. in Harvey 82). Often in contrast with the fragile Sue, Arabella‟s consistency throughout the novel opens her way to stick to her ideology without provoking the wrath of public opinion. We as readers condemn Sue more than we do to Arabella, because the latter espouses conformism because it is the only way for her to survive in the Victorian society and if she does harm to our hero, the openness of her behaviour soon awakens Jude before wasting his time. Whereas, Sue who pledges allegiance to Jude in order to fight hand in hand with him against social norms, surrenders unashamedly to the common enemy and leaves Jude to fight alone and perish in the battlefield. Sue is contradictory in her behaviour, at firs she says to Phillotson “I shall do just as I choose” and when her struggle is in vain, she returns to him saying, “when are we going to have the marriage? Soon? (435). When Sue remarries Phillotson, she “subjects herself fully to the legalistic... codes of the ideology of marriage” (Bomarito 232).