It took me about a month to read the last of Thomas Hardy’s novels. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t up to par it was that the language was so dense, being written in 1895, but even so, I’ve read a few books from this time period and none of them have been this hard to swallow.
Jude the Obscure follows the life and times of Jude Fawley and man who is just trying to right by himself and be with the woman he loves, but things just don’t seem to come together for him. He gets duped into marriage by a girl who pretends to be pregnant, something’s never change. She ends up leaving him after they end up fighting about the supposed child. He follows his dreams to the town Christminster where he wants to become a scholar and work in the church. This is also where he meets Sue Bridehead, the love of his life and his cousin. Though he wants nothing more than to be with her, after his dreams of attending college in the village are dashed, faith and Sues disposition are against them.
Sue Bridehead is one complex woman. She does whine quite frequently and she never really knows exactly what she wants. It’s constantly “Jude I love you” “Jude I hate you” “Jude I’m so sorry, please forgive me”. I will admit that I became rather annoyed with her towards the middle but when something in her finally breaks and she quite literally goes a little insane. you come to realize that maybe she wasn’t right in the head the entire time and that one thing needed to happen for her to completely break. Although I applaud her for her convictions and how steadfast she is on her views of marriage and friendship between the sexes, I ultimately think she is a damaged woman and no one realizes it until she is too far gone to save her.
Jude the Obscure is a sad novel, there’s no denying that, and yet there are aspects of love and devotion on every page. By the end you do feel for the title character and really just wish him all of the best. Jude really is a stand up guy and he tries to do the right things even though they may not be what he truly wants. By the end you grieve for his loses and cheer for his triumphs and just wish him a moments worth of peace.