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Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure

by Thomas Hardy

Jude the Obscure Analysis

Literary Devices in Jude the Obscure

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

(For more on the fictional county of Wessex, which is based on Hardy's home county of Dorset, check out our "Brief Summary" of the novel.) Hardy makes it a point to name every part of the novel aft...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator of Jude the Obscure sees a lot but doesn't seem to feel much. That is, the narrator knows everything about everybody: major characters, minor characters, you name it. But the narrator...

Genre

While Jude and Sue's romance may briefly trick you into thinking that this novel is going to be the love story, in the end, Jude the Obscure is primarily a tragedy. Thanks to Jude's tragic flaw—h...

Tone

For Jude, Sue, and Arabella, the drama of their lives borders (and surpasses) soap opera drama-levels at times. These are emotional creatures, and when they let go, they really let go, as when Sue...

Writing Style

Don't let the "poetic" part of Hardy's style scare you. This novel is, at times, funny, clever, and very real to life. However, Hardy does enjoy a bit of heightened language. It fits perfectly with...

What's Up With the Title?

Titles can be tricky business for a writer. Even the best of them struggle with it, and Hardy admits that he went back and forth before settling on Jude the Obscure:And in the difficulty of coming...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Yea, many there be that have that have run out of their wits for women, and become servants for their sake. Many have perished, have erred, and sinned for women…O ye men, how can it be but women...

What's Up With the Ending?

Jude goes to Sue, they express their love for each other, they kiss, and they live happily ever after—hooray! Except that, sadly, that's not how this book ends at all, no matter how much we might...

Tough-o-Meter

The story of Jude the Obscure is exciting, emotional, and pretty easy to follow. However, Hardy—like many authors of his time—knows the classics and loves to reference them. This book contains...

Plot Analysis

Just a Small Town Boy, Living In a Lonely World, Took the Midnight Train Going to—Christminster?When we first meet Jude Fawley, he's a boy of eleven, and he's just looking for something to believ...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Jude the Obscure fits in with Mr. Booker's idea of what a tragedy is almost perfectly. It's actually kind of strange how well it falls into each stage. But we have to agree: Jude the Obscure is one...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Hardy's novel reads a bit like an epic, but it's still possible to shoehorn it into a traditional three act plot structure if you're willing to push through a really long Act 2. As with most things...

Trivia

The wildly popular Downton Abbey often plays like a Hardy novel, and in the Christmas special in season three, they make a blatant reference to Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Source) This fact...

Steaminess Rating

This book was steamy enough to get banned and cause some outrage in its time—1896 was not a great time to portray an unmarried woman having babies. Of course, Jude the Obscure came out during the...

Allusions

Hardy knows his classics, and he's not afraid to show it:Clarke's Homer (1.4.12)Hesiod (1.6.4)Thucydides (1.6.4)Shakespeare (2.1.16)Gibbon (2.3.28)"Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven […]" – Poe,...
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