Masculinity in Jude the Obscure

Topics: Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy, Man Pages: 4 (1450 words) Published: March 21, 2014
The Codes of a Man
In the novel Jude the Obscure there are some controversial issues of that time period are being displayed. The first of which is masculinity and how that applied to certain people of different classes and genders. The masculinity of men in that time period was defined by several things, namely, a man’s control of the house hold, and the ability to think and act rationally rather than emotionally. Jude’s character gets dissected in this book and we really get a glimpse into his thought process and mind, and throughout the book Jude behaves in such a way that makes us wonder that would he have acted more like a “man”, the events in his life might have led to a happier ending for him. In the article “The Old Adam and the New Man” John Tosh speaks about the binary between men and women, He claims, With the two-sex model came and increasingly dichotomized notion of mind and temperament. For men this meant and intensified emphasis on rationality as against emotionality, energy rather than repose, constancy instead of variability, action instead of passivity, and taciturnity rather than talkativeness. In the light of this changed character alignment, several male activities had to be reassessed. (Tosh, 69) Throughout the book Jude makes choices that are not only not rational, but also passive and reflect the opposite of what was considered masculine. He bases his decisions off his emotions and does not give them much consideration. Consider what happened in the novel “He would be unable to resist the desire to make himself known to her” (Hardy, 89). Jude is struggling to decide if he should reveal himself to his cousin Sue, even after his aunt told him not to because it would lead to nothing but trouble since Jude was already married. Jude did not heed her warnings and talked to Sue, he did not weigh the options or consider it rationally. Jude revealed himself to her purely out of his longing for her and his “love” for her after only seeing a...

Cited: Allingham, Phillip V. “The Novels of Thomas Hardy: An Introduction.” The Victorian Web.
Milgram, Stanley. “The Perils of Obedience.” The New Millenium Reader. 4th ed. Ed. Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg. New York: Prentice Hall, 2005: 653-663. Print.
Pinker, Steven. “The Moral Instinct.” The Norton Reader. 13th ed. Ed. Nancy Peterson, et al. New York: W.W.Norton, 2012: 321-328. Print.
Tosh, John
Longman, 2005. Print.
Wheelwright, Phillip
Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg. New York: Prentice Hall, 2005: 629-633. Print.
Hardy, Thomas
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