Back at Melchester, Jude tries to fight against the temptation to visit Sue at Shaston and tries desperately to pursue his study for the ministry. Enlarging his interest in sacred music and eventually joining a choir in a village church nearby, he is greatly moved by a new hymn and thinks that the composer of it must be the kind of man who would understand his own perplexing state of mind. Jude seeks out the composer but discovers he is interested only in money. Coming home from this trip, he discovers Sue has relented and asked him to visit on that very day. Abandoning his attempt to discipline his feelings for her, he writes to arrange to visit as soon as possible.
Jude's impulsive visit to the composer turns into another irony. The man who Jude thinks would be best equipped to understand and sympathize with him turns out to be a kind of businessman. He is interested only in money, not the beauty of his music. Jude is an increasingly lonely man, and this attempt to break out of his loneliness comes to nothing, as all such attempts will. It is a part of what is happening to him. Slowly straying away from his old beliefs, he finds himself without any context for his actions and thoughts. Sue is no help here: she is too self-centered, and all she can offer is questions, not answers. All men are like Jude, so Hardy seems to suggest-modern men, at least.