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Luca Bianchin - "Done because we are to manny"
[author: Luca Bianchin - postdate: 2008-05-18]


The extract from chapter two of the novel Jude the Obscure reveals the episode of the death of Sue and Jude's offspring. The importance of the adjective obscure is underlined by its frequent presence to qualify the whole setting of the episode. As a matter of fact it is referred to the inn where Jude passed the night after the advice to leave the lodgings, and to the speech Sue had with little  Jude. The conversation made him kill his brothers: moreover Little Jude s called "obscure" just for the  sad nature that distinguished him from his brothers.


From the stylistic point of view the novelist makes use of direct speech to portraying the situation Jude's "family"  is compelled to live. Showing as a choice adds a realistic tone to the novel. When the third omniscient person narrator is present he is mainly there to develop the story. As a matter of fact he gives no judgements and Hardy prefers to convey  his believes with some statements voiced  by some characters who are mouthspeakers  a specific social point of view (the doctor, the landlady, Sue, and at the end Jude with whom the writer identifies). The first noticeable statement is Sue's. She thinks it i is at the origin of the suicide: she couldn't explain all the truth to Jude junior because she thought the child would not be able to understand. After a conversation that fostered more doubts, Sue isn't able to reassure the child and her interaction ends with her" But go to sleep".


The episode of the death is anticipated by some of the child's words. The atmosphere seems tobecome less heavy the following morning. The discovery of the corpses is introduced by a shriek that raised the tension until Jude's sad discovery. The deadly scene is described with plenty of details, and probably reflects a criticism of Hardy's time. The short message Jude junior left is significant of the demographic problem of the working class- It cast  Sue in a state of depression because she attributes the child's death to her words the previous evening. Nothing can soothe her, until the end of the extract where she makes her considerations  on the miserable condition her child would live in order to find a positive aspect to their death.


Jude doesn't agree with Sue on this point and reminds her the importance of children that he feels part of him. The children's death paves the way to a lot of existential discourses like the nihilistic one of the doctor. Although he believes in an innatistic behaviour of the peoplehe is all the same shocked by the situation.

Life situations seem to be the most important matter  to Jude, but at the same time, he is an idealistic person, full of sense of control, typical of the Victorian compromise (as a matter of fact he open his eyes after the death and regrets his half truths, a sort of impossible balance between the reality he has to face and his idealistic purposes). He has received a stab in the back by following nature, therefore with Hardy he shares a pessimistic way of thinking.


Paradigmatic of such point of view is the conclusion that death brings with it in the sentence from Agamemnon's chorus (the role of culture is still central, but become a destiny he is a human being subject to the immanent will of Nature.