Monday, August 14, 2006

No one warned me. Hardy ends the last quarter of Jude the Obscure with such a devastating event, that I put the book down and just stared at it for a few moments. I won't give the details away and spoil the terribly sad plot. Once the catastrophe takes place, our heroine, Sue, becomes unhinged, taking to church and prayer daily, wanting nothing to do with poor Jude. The circumstances of their relationship are complicated to say the least, but Sue only compounds the situation at times. Sue was an individual and unique woman who wanted nothing to do of the traditional modes of life. She was not religious, but ended up changing her life based on repentence and religion. She was never keen on marriage, but ended up in loveless marriage, for the second time to the same man. This strong person was defeated by society and her own compulsive impulses, leaving Jude alone in the cruel world they once shared.

Yet, Hardy made Sue likeable past the point I would have thought. He didn't simply turn her over to make a point. He split up the two lovers, who were like one, to show how grief is assumed and love endured. Lincoln said a 'house divided can not stand' and I think that somehow fits this story. Together, Jude and Sue could withstand the taunts, jealousies and setbacks because they had one another. Seperated, they were destroyed souls, walking, but not living.

Just finished:
Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure

Now reading:
H.G. Wells The Time Machine
Sarah Waters Fingersmith

On deck:
H.G. Wells The Island of Dr. Moreau


Ella said...

I hated this book! It was the first Hardy I ever read, and it almost turned me away from him forever. I found the ending both horrible and pointless.

Since then I've read "Mayor of Casterbridge" and "Return of the Native" and enjoyed them both.

M. Barresi said...

Someone else I know couldn't stand this book either. I thought it a bit strange, Jude and Sue's relationship, but Hardy won me over.

Dorothy W. said...

Oh, the ending is horrible isn't it?

M. Barresi said...

The ending is outrageous, but I think Hardy does that for a reason...perhaps to show how cruel the world is, maybe to just shock the reader or he wanted to demonstrate how love not only sustains us, but can destroy as well.

I'll just say it's a strange and strong ending.

litlove said...

Oh dear, I was quite looking forward to reading this, and now I'm not so sure. Perhaps I just need to approach Hardy from a different book.