Posted On : July 25 2020
Writer : Mrinalini Pandey
Today, Bookaholicanonymous is happy to bring to you a blog written by one of our young readers – Mrinalini Pandey. We got to know this wonderful girl through a book club in the city called Club Literati. She loves reading, loves history and literature. Today, she writes on one of her fave literary characters.
Jude The Glorious
Intro by Mrinalini: Jude the Obscure, published in 1895, is the magnum opus of Thomas Hardy. Jude’s tragic life and it’s end is heart wrenching for all those who have read the book. When I first read it, I couldn’t take my mind off it. I always wondered, “how can someone suffer so much in life? “ I deeply thought about the events in Jude’s life and I realised that Jude could be anything but obscure. I decided to pen down my thoughts about a man who was always denied happiness in this world and left it too soon, to find solace in the afterworld.
Jude Fawley, a simple boy from a village, orphaned at an extremely tender age, raised by his great-aunt, was living his life happily, despite of his scarce means. But one day, as happens with all students, a teacher, as venerable as God, named Richard Phillotson, entered his world. Phillotson acquainted him with the Classics, the undying glory of the Greek and the Roman Worlds, and the greatest University in the World—Christminster. One day, Phillotson, left for the City, to chase his dreams, leaving the poor Jude shattered. But before going, he left the impossible dream of studying Classics at Christminster in the naïve child’s eyes. Innocent Jude didn’t realize that an institution as exalted as the Christminster, was not meant for ordinary people.
Destiny had other plans for our protagonist; the wicked and whimsical Arabella entered Jude’s world and very cunningly, tricked him into a marriage, only to leave him forever and set sail for Australia. Jude, shattered again, picked up the broken pieces of his heat, to chase the only dream that he ever saw, with his eyes wide open—studying Classics at Christminster. But is again tricked by destiny, when he met his cousin, Sue Bridehead, an enigma in herself, whose charms were impossible to resist. Jude was denied this happiness also, as Sue married Phillotson, Jude’s teacher. The worst part was that, Jude himself introduced them to each other. This marriage didn’t last, as Sue loved Jude, and left her husband for him. The naïve Jude thought, that finally he got his share of happiness, but his dreams were again broken by destiny, as Arabella and Jude’s child, whose existence, Jude wasn’t aware of came to stay with him and Sue.
Jude and Sue never married but lived together and had two children, and were expecting their third child, which made them face the ire of the society. Jude could never make enough money and lived a nomadic life, due to his unconventional life choices, which made him an outcast. His dream of studying at Christminster was also shattered. With their finances dwindling, Arabella’s son decided to relieve his parents from their woes, by killing himself, only after killing the other two children. Sue, devastated by this trauma, ended up losing her third child. This tragedy turned Sue into a religious and a god-fearing person, who returned back to her husband, thinking that her children died because of her wrongdoings and defiance against religion. Jude, completely heartbroken, by this, tried tooth and nail to bring her back, but in vain. He ultimately left this world for a much better and peaceful world, as nothing was left for him.
A man who was betrayed by all, even by God himself left this world as his miseries weighed so heavy, that he was unable to bear them. A man simple enough to not understand the harsh realities of this world, left this World in obscurity. When I think of Jude, I am suddenly reminded of a quote from Charles Dicken’s, A Tale of Two cities,”….Its a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Let’s talk about another story (this time a real one), a German Businessman Heinrich Schliemann, who had a firm belief that there existed a city named Troy, and that the Trojan War was not a myth, carried out a series of excavations and discovered the site. (Okay, he wasn’t a professional and ended up destroying a lot of artifacts) What puzzles me is that, Why couldn’t Jude become someone like him? Why was he not stubborn enough, to chase his dream of studying the Classics at Christminster? Why did he allow fate to overpower him? F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in, Tender is the Night, “If life wont do it for him, its not a substitute to get a disease, or a broken hear, or an inferiority complex, though it’d be nice to build out some broken side till it was better than the original stricture.” There is an important lesson to learn from this quote.
But Jude was neither smart nor determined enough to realize his dreams. He didn’t understand the ways of this world. A simple fact: When rocks try to obstruct the path of a river, to prevent its flow, fail miserably, as the river makes its way cutting through those rocks. The rocks, that intend to stop the river from flowing freely and stagnate it, are powerless in front of its strength. That’s pretty much, the philosophy of life, keep flowing, keep growing
Then why, Jude the Glorious? A man who lived and died in obscurity, a man who wasn’t strong enough to fulfill his dreams, a man who didn’t have the courage to stand up for himself, a man naïve enough to let others befool him and a man who was weak enough to succumb to death, How could such a man be glorious? But, Jude deserves all the Glory, as his heart was purer than gold. A man, who dared to love, a man who had the courage to dream of something, which was beyond his reach, a man who defied the norms of the society, and faced its ire, a man too divine to survive this wretched and murky world. Is glory only attached to those, who attain wealth and success, and are accepted by the society? No, Glory is the twin sister of Humanity. This is a very small tribute to a noble soul like Jude, who deserved all the glory in this world, but forever dwelled in obscurity. Jude’s glory was more than that of the radiant, bright sun, more than that of the greatest of kings, as his glory emanated from his golden heart.
About Mrinalini Pandey: She has done her Masters in History from MLB College in Bhopal. She is currently working as a Consulting Editor at Manjul Publishing House, and is currently researching on Indian Sculptures and their iconography. She has presented one of her papers at Cambridge and is an aspiring artist.