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Jude the Obscure | Study Guide

Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Late spring/early summer

    Jude's teacher, Mr. Phillotson, leaves Marygreen for Christminster.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • Five years later

    Jude, now 16, apprentices himself to a stone mason but intends to study in Christminster.

    Part 1, Chapter 5
  • Three years later

    Jude meets Arabella and begins courting her.

    Part 1, Chapter 8
  • Three months later

    Tricked into believing she is pregnant, Jude marries Arabella, dashing his academic hopes.

    Part 1, Chapter 9
  • A few months later

    Jude and Arabella fight over a pig and separate in late autumn.

    Part 1, Chapter 11
  • Three years later

    After trying to catch up on his studies, Jude moves to Christminster.

    Part 2, Chapter 1
  • A few weeks later

    After meeting Sue face-to-face, Jude introduces her to Phillotson, now teaching near Christminster.

    Part 2, Chapter 4
  • A few months later

    Jude is rejected by Christminster, gets drunk, and loses his job.

    Part 2, Chapter 6
  • A few days later

    Jude returns to Marygreen and decides to become a lower-level clergyman.

    Part 2, Chapter 7
  • A few weeks later

    Jude moves to Melchester to be near Sue, who is studying at a teacher-training college there.

    Part 3, Chapter 1
  • A few weeks later

    Sue is punished for breaking curfew and escapes from the college with help from Jude.

    Part 3, Chapter 3
  • A few months later

    Sue hastily marries Phillotson, having asked Jude to give her away.

    Part 3, Chapter 7
  • Eight weeks later

    Sue and Jude attend their great-aunt's funeral and share a passionate kiss.

    Part 4, Chapter 3
  • A few weeks later

    Sue leaves Phillotson to live with Jude.

    Part 4, Chapter 5
  • Winter, following year

    Sue and Jude adopt Father Time while living in Aldbrickham.

    Part 5, Chapter 3
  • Several years later

    Arabella meets Sue at a fair selling Christminster cakes, which Jude has baked.

    Part 5, Chapter 7
  • June of same year

    In their lodgings at Christminster, Father Time hangs himself and his siblings.

    Part 6, Chapter 2
  • A few months later

    Sue leaves Jude and remarries Phillotson.

    Part 6, Chapter 5
  • A few weeks later

    Arabella tricks a drunken and hopeless Jude into remarrying her.

    Part 6, Chapter 7
  • June, following year

    Jude is ill and makes himself sicker, dying shortly before his 30th birthday.

    Part 6, Chapter 11

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface The first preface of Jude the Obscure provides a history of its creation. Hardy made notes on his story in 1887, sugge... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 1–3 In Marygreen the recently arrived young schoolmaster, Mr. Phillotson, is now leaving. His pupils will not miss Mr. Phi... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 4–6 On his way home from the Brown House, Jude runs into the itinerant quack doctor—known as Physician Vilbert and of dubi... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 7–9 Jude is at his Aunt Drusilla's house reading a newly acquired Greek Testament, something he has looked forward to all ... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 10–11 The pig the Fawleys have been fattening all autumn must now be slaughtered, but the pig killer, Challow, fails to arri... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 1–4 Having completed his apprenticeship and having the skill of a stone mason, Jude—now a man with a strong and earnest fa... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 5–7 Phillotson is pleased that Sue is bright and an excellent teacher. He gives her private but chaperoned lessons in the ... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 1–3 Jude realizes his Christminster aspirations were "mundane ambition masquerading in a surplice" and now wants to take u... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 4–7 Jude's landlady sees Sue sleeping and thinks a young man is visiting. When Sue awakens, she and Jude begin talking abo... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 8–10 A dejected Jude's decision to leave Melchester, which he finds disagreeable with Sue gone, coincides with news Miss Fa... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 1–3 Jude enters Shaston late in the afternoon and waits for Sue in her empty classroom. He is picking out the keys of the ... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 4–6 One night Phillotson is distracted and accidentally enters his old bedroom. Sue jumps out of the window. Her fall is n... Read More
Part 5, Chapters 1–3 In February of the following year, Sue and Jude are still living in Aldbrickham in a platonic relationship and working... Read More
Part 5, Chapters 4–5 Jude's son says people call him Little Father Time, because he looks "so aged." He has never been christened because, ... Read More
Part 5, Chapters 6–8 While Sue and Jude have passed unnoticed in the town, their situation changes after they cancel their wedding. "Little... Read More
Part 6, Chapters 1–3 The Fawleys return to Christminster on Remembrance Day, an important holiday to honor fallen military service members ... Read More
Part 6, Chapters 4–5 Because he saw them in the crowd on Remembrance Day, Phillotson knows Jude and Sue are in Christminster. A few weeks a... Read More
Part 6, Chapters 6–8 Arabella comes to Jude's lodgings, pretending her father has kicked her out. Jude tries to get rid of her by offering ... Read More
Part 6, Chapters 9–11 On the platform Arabella meets Jude, who admits he wished to kill himself by going out in the rain. Even though he has... Read More
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