Jude the Obscure By Thomas Hardy Summary and Analysis Part 6: Chapter 5

Summary

Sue goes to Marygreen and Phillotson's house, and when Phillotson greets her with a kiss she shrinks from him. The wedding is to be the next day, and she is to stay with Mrs. Edlin. When Sue refuses to wear an attractive nightgown, indeed destroys it, Mrs. Edlin tells her she still loves Jude and shouldn't marry Phillotson. Phillotson discusses his reasons for wanting to marry Sue with Gillingham and says so much about the way a man should govern a wife that his friend wonders if he will not be too hard on Sue. Mrs. Edlin embarrasses Phillotson by coming to tell him that Sue is forcing herself to marry him and he shouldn't go through with it, but Gillingham assures him he is right to marry her. Phillotson and Sue are married in the church the next morning, and afterward at home he tells her he will respect her "personal privacy" as he did before.

Analysis

Every detail in these scenes shows Sue is forcing herself to remarry Phillotson as a penance: she shrinks from his kiss; she is startled by seeing the marriage license; she destroys a nightgown she bought for Jude's sake and insists on wearing a plain one; she cries; she wants the marriage performed quickly.

Here and in the previous section Phillotson is shown to be acting on the basis of expediency in taking Sue back. He has decided it might improve his standing in the community and in his profession, and to Gillingham he mouths conventional advice about how a husband should govern his wife. In short, his motives for taking her back are less admirable than those for letting her go. Of course, he has suffered a good deal from allowing her to leave him for Jude.

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