“We are a little beforehand…”
Universitatea “Petru Maior”
Quotations from Jude The Obscure by Thomas Hardy
The content of the essay
“Everybody is getting to feel as we do.We are a little beforehand, that's all. In fifty, a hundred, years the descendants of these two [a marrying couple] will act and feel worse than we. They will see weltering humanity still more vividly than we do now”.
“If we are happy as we are, what does it matter to anybody?[…] Do you think that when you will have me with you by law, we shall be so happy as we are now? ... Don't you dread the attitude that insensibly arises out of legal obligation? Don't you think it is destructive to a passion whose essence is its gratuitousness?”[…] ”I have always striven to do what has pleased me. I well deserved the scourging I have got"
“It is a difficult question, my friends, for any young man—that question I had to grapple with and which thousands are weighing at the present moment in these uprising times—whether to follow uncritically the track he finds himself in, without considering his aptness for it, or to consider what his aptness or bent may be, and reshape his course accordingly. I tried to do the later, and I failed. But I don’t admit that my failure proved my view to be a wrong one, or that my success would have made it a right one; though that’s how we appraise such attempts nowadays - I mean, not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes. If I had ended by becoming like one of these gentlemen in red and black that we saw dropping in here by now, everybody would have said: ‘See how wise that young man was, to follow the bent of his nature!’ But having ended not better that I began they say: ‘See what a fool that fellow was in following a freak of his fancy!’”
Jude’s Fate In A Changing World
“We are a little beforehand.”
Jude The Obscure, the work of Thomas Hardy, caused enormous controversy in his time. Critics identify Jude as a ‘prophetic’ text, a link between late Victorian England and the rise of modernism.
In no other novel by Hardy is theme so important, and it is: man is becoming aware that his life is governed by old ideas and old institutions and he desires to break out of these obsolete forms. It presents ‘typical characters and typical circumstances’ in a revolutionary way, drawing attention to two archetypes of it’s time: the working-class man, who desires education and the woman, who wants something beyond a traditional female role.
In the novel Hardy presents a countryside different from those pictured in the typical Victorian fiction. The Marygreen of Jude’s childhood is not the idyllic village, not a retreat from industrialization, ‘where everything was at peace’, but an urbanized place, where the...