Jude the Obscure


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For use alongside extract used in lesson - A2 English Lit AQA spec A - LITA3

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Jude the Obscure

  1. 1. * Thomas Hardy (1895)
  2. 2. **Born in Dorset in 1840 to a humble but ambitious family.*Originally trained as an architect, he supplemented his basic education with private tuition and considerable wider reading and in 1867 returned home from London.*Always regretted not going to Uni*The story of Jude reflects Hardy’s own resentment that that opportunity was routinely denied men of his class.
  3. 3. **Famously complex (reminds me of Boris)*First wife – Emma Gifford – strained by the time of writing Jude. Publication of the novel didn’t help.*Emma was afraid that the public would read the book as autobiographical.*Hardy professed his undying love to his best friend Florence Henniket (writer) and his cousin Tryphena (teacher).
  4. 4. **Shocking for the day, Jude caused something of a furore on its publication and Hardy resolved to abandon novel-writing from then on.
  5. 5. **This refers to mental, spiritual and emotional closeness rather than physical intimacy
  6. 6. **In late Victorian times, opportunities for a woman were still limited and marriage was seen as her noblest calling. One of the many tricks a woman was encouraged to play to ‘catch’ a husband was to be less open thatn he was in expressing feelings: forthrightness in women was frowned on as unfeminine.
  7. 7. **Despite his flaws and his miserable social status (exacerbated by public condemnation of his relations with Sue), Jude still sees himself as a man who possesses refined judgment.
  8. 8. **Jude’s first marriage was to Arabella, a woman who tricked him into marriage by pretending to be pregnant, after seducing him into a relationship by playing hot and cold with him; hence Hardy’s fencing metaphor here and Jude’s scathing references to the game of elusiveness woman such as Arabella play.
  9. 9. **In Greek mythology, Nemesis was the spirit of divine retribution who meted out justice, particularly to people who set themselves up against the gods and claimed more for themselves than they were due.
  10. 10. **Hardy presents Sue, too, as somewhat prone to games-playing, although her wiles are less conscious than Arabella’s and seem to result from her own confusion; she is torn between her wish to do right by the men in her life and her fears of commitment.
  11. 11. **Sue’s behaviour has been so unorthodox that she can expect no one to stand by her; and, as a woman with relatively little freedom, this isolation is alarming.
  12. 12. **This is a key statement and one that caused offence to some of Hardy’s readers. Though considerable numbers of people, especially of Sue’s and Jude’s class, lived as common-law spouses in late Victorian times, it was unacceptable to condone the practice publicly – particularly since its justification here is in the mouth of a woman.
  13. 13. **Jude presents an idealistic view of their partnership, envisaging Sue as both lover and best friend.
  14. 14. **Hardy is obliged to use euphemisms for sexual matters
  15. 15. **Sulky and irritable