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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Jude sums up Hardy's dark philosophy of life

Jude and family - now (part 6, final section of Jude the Obscure) w/ 3 children in tow - after several years of itinerant labor in Wessex, head back to Christminster, the city was once at the pinnacle of Jude's dreams and aspirations. You have to wonder: why? He could only feel like a ruin and a failure returning to the place where he was never welcomed, where he was coldly turned away from the college gates. Surprisingly, on arrival, he's very excited about seeing some sort of convocation procession, and he drags the family to stand in the rain for hours as the procession moves by - with all of their possessions, not amounting to much but still, left at the train station and without even a place to spend the night let alone to settle down and live for a while. This is cruel and almost abusive behavior - something's wrong w/ his mind, it seems. As always in the coincidental world of Victorian fiction, he's recognized in the crowd watching the parade - some of his old fellow stonemasons call out to him, mockingly, noting how disheveled he looks. And Jude at that point launches into an apologia de vita sua (I'm sure I spelled that wrong - apology for, or explanation of, his life), which is really a summation of Hardy's philosophy of life: If I'd come back as a success you'd say there goes a great man who worked hard, and as you see me now as a failure you think there goes someone who just never had the talent or drive - when it's all a matter of fate, and all of us are doomed to suffer and die anyway. Very dark novel - maybe the darkest in all of Hardy.

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