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A novel by English author Thomas Hardy published in 1895. This was his final novel.

Jude the Obscure is about a working-class man named Jude Fawley, a dreamer with aspirations to become a scholar in the town of Christminster (modeled after Oxford). He learns the craft of stone masonry and has a poorly-chosen marriage as a teenager, which finally ends in separation. He moves to Christminister to pursue his dream, but is is ultimately rejected and is disillusioned from becoming a scholar. Jude meets and has an ongoing affair with his cousin Sue Bridehead, even after her marriage. He and his family face a never-ending series of hardships, tragedies and disappointments.

Some of the themes in the novel are the limits of class structure in Britain, ill-fated love and marriage, and adultery.


This Work Contains Examples Of:

  • The Baby Trap: How Arabella convinces Jude to marry her.
  • Bungled Suicide: As noted above, both Jude and Sue fail spectacularly at committing suicide. Their survival becomes bitterly ironic when their young children subvert this trope.
  • Butt Monkey: It always gets worse for Jude.
  • Comedy of Remarriage: though definitely not a comedy
  • Creepy Child: "Little Father Time", as described below, fits this
  • Downer Ending: And how. Jude dies alone, abandoned by the woman he loves, all three of his children dead in a murder/suicide while his wife flirts with a doctor.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jude does this frequently, resulting in his famous reciting the creed in Latin while intoxicated scene.
  • From Bad to Worse: Essentially the whole book.
  • Hysterical Woman: Sue. She gets worse as time goes on.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: At first, Phillotsonis this trope. He helps Sue leave him for Jude, even though this means losing his job and social standing for abetting adultery.
  • Kissing Cousins: Jude and Sue are cousins, and furthermore their family has notoriously bad luck in marriages.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: it could be argued that Sue keeps having children with Jude as a means of punishing herself. But sadly, when Little Father Time kills his siblings, Sue also miscarriages their unborn child.
  • May-December Romance
  • Meaningful Name: Fawley is like "Folly," and Bridehead refers to -- well, work it out. See why bringing these two together is a bad idea?
    • Also, Jude is the saint of the impossible.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jude's oldest son is known only as "Little Father Time"
  • Oxbridge: Christminster is a thinly veiled version of Oxford.
  • Pater Familicide: except it's Jude's oldest son, not Jude himself who kills himself and his siblings out of desperation, the family is already poor and there's another child on the way
  • Poke the Poodle: After getting a snide rejection letter from Christminster, Jude is so depressed that he vandalizes the college by writing a Bible verse on the gates. In chalk.
  • Walking the Earth: Jude and Sue and their family cannot stay in one place for long, because when people realize they're not married, they're no longer welcome anywhere.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Jude refuses to step on earthworms, thinks birds deserve a share of the farmer's grain, and believes that a manual laborer who lacks a formal education, not to mention money, can get into Christminster if he asks nicely enough.
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