Jude the Obscure

Topics: Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy's Wessex Pages: 6 (2529 words) Published: January 30, 2011
by Thomas Hardy

In the recent novel of Hardy, Jude the Obscure, the characters are in an everlasting illusion about truth and their language is not only a transparent means of communication but a kind of obstacle to perceive each other's meaning. On the other hand, by generating a new sense of religious faith he demolishes the traditional idea of faith and Christianity and let the characters and especially women breathe under the given liberty which is achieved by this loss of faith and moreover captured in a loneliness that is the direct outcome of the new philosophy. All Hardy's desires are encoding new moral standards within the society which is bound to traditions. The first difficulty in understanding the novel as a Victorians buildung novel is thematic and stems from the portrayal in the text itself of misreading that have been done by Jude. Jude sees in Christ minster and its university the image of an achievable ideal world. His desire for this ideal vision involves a rejection of reality. For his own occasionally controlled and some times partially understood world, he substitutes the image of a unified, stable, and understandable world. Delighted for his desire for order, he starts by studying language with two purposes one as a means of entering to university life and as a possible way of establishing a firm character. Jude feels betrayed. Consequently, in his attempt to learn Latin he finds that "there was no law of transmutation, as in his innocence he had supposed" (Nineteenth century fiction. p, 31). Jude's desire of "law of transmutation," the "secret cipher" to a system of translation could exist only if a prior permanent code existed to allow a free substitution of signifiers for one autonomous signified. The metaphor of translation at this early point in the novel is very interesting. It both reveals that Jude's desire for an unexcited frozen text that its content might be transported without change or harm in to the element of another language. This will continue to be decisive issues throughout the novel. At this point , Jude has no doubt that the voice of nature can be read and translated, for example when he " addresses the breeze caressingly," it seems to respond: "suddenly there came along this wind something toward him. However, very soon perceives that language is not a fixed system through which meaning can be transferred from one system to another. Yet this is exactly why Jude refuses to reply to his other readings of the world around him. As he travels in to countryside where signs of indirect limitations imposed on his life stand to be decoded. History, echoing across the generations, seems to focus on Jude at the bottom of "this vast concave" filed but he does not understand its voice yet. This quality of country side is the essential aspect of the tradition in to which he has been born. These are marks and signs and associations in the landscape of Wessex which is the immediate force of all events. Thus, long before his birth, long before the story of his family has been inscribed, this tradition has already traced the pattern of occurrence of all events in his life but he was not able to read the determining book of fate. At the beginning of the story, the young Jude seems to see the schoolmaster, Plillotson, as the main power of his controlling "dream" and as a symbolic substitute for the absent "real" father. According to this illusion, when Pillotson leaves Marygreen, Jude replaces him with an ideal representation. Jude reads that ideal presence in to the natural land escape of Wessex as Chrisminster, "that ecclesiastical romance in stone" Moreover he finds out that the truth he fixed for himself is not fixed when Philotson marries with his love, Sue. This is the time he faces with the frustration and alienation of himself and society as he sees all the truths he established for himself just an unfixed one which later will...
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