Jude the Obscure By Thomas Hardy Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter 1

Summary

Three years later, his apprenticeship ended, Jude is on his way to Christminster. Not only have his old aspirations caused him to come; but he has seen a photograph of his cousin Sue Bridehead and has been told by his aunt that the girl lives in the city. He arrives at sunset, finds himself lodgings in an inexpensive suburb nicknamed Beersheba, and goes to look over the city. He has read and thought so much about it that as he wanders among the ancient colleges he seems to encounter the ghosts of the famous men associated with them. Back in his lodgings, before he falls asleep he seems to hear these men speak to him in words that he has read.

Analysis

For Jude Christminster is as much a dream when he is actually there as when he viewed it from the ridge-track outside Marygreen. It is significant that his first contact with the place is at night, a time when it is easier for him to make the physical facts conform to his idea. He studies the buildings of the colleges with great care and soon seems to encounter the ghosts of the great men of the past who were associated with Christminster. Even when he returns to his lodgings, their words fill his head before he goes to sleep.

Jude has finally got to Christminster, but it is a Christminster of his imagination, one that very likely never existed at all.

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