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How Does Jude Feel About Sue?
While talking in class yesterday about Jude the Obscure, I believe several people said they interpreted the passage as Jude didn't feel the same way about Sue as she felt about him. I thought this was interesting because when I read the passage, I read it as they were both in love with each other. So I was wondering what in the text led others to come to this conclusion?
Also, Mr. Chisnell made multiple comments about the line, "I wish you were happy, whatever I may be!" and I was wondering what we should make about this line. To be honest, I was a little confused about what Mr. Chisnell was getting at with these comments. I believe in the context of our discussion we were relating it to the beginning of the passage where Jude is described as lonely twice in the first paragraph (although I could be remembering that incorrectly). So I was just wondering what others thought this line meant in relation to the passage?
At first, I didn't think too much about this line-I just thought, he's her friend, of course he wants her to be happy. However, the class discussion about this line focused in on it as a "self sacrifice". This interpretation is understood better if we look at what Sue says before it, "I know you, with your religious doctrines, think that a married woman in trouble of a kind like mine commits a mortal sin in making a man the confidant of it, as I did you. I wish I hadn't, now!" Sue feels bad she told him, to involve him in a "mortal sin", but then Jude reassures her that he just wants her to be happy, and it doesn't matter how it affects him! Originally, I wasn't sure if he shared Sue's feelings, but I after reexamining this line I think that it is really possible that Jude feels romantically about Sue. He just wants her to be happy, sure friends want friends to be happy, but the "self sacrificing" notion reveals possible romantic feelings.
I also interpreted this passage as the feelings being reciprocated. I feel like Sue is just trapped in her marriage so she can't openly express these feelings. I feel like Jude feels trapped as well in terms of expressing his emotions due to his "religious doctrines." So, I interpreted the mentioned line as Jude showing that he is content with the pain that he will have to deal with, as long as Sue is happy.
@gil This is how I originally interpreted the line as well. I read it as Sue was more important to Jude than his religious doctrines, which is why I was inclined to believe that he felt romantically toward Sue. Religion is usually something people place above everything else. So the fact that he was so quick to disregard his religion was very telling about how important Sue was to him. I suppose someone could care about a friend this much, but I find it highly unlikely for her to mean so much to him without him thinking about her romantically. And based on the evidence we have earlier in the passage, he probably has some idea about how Sue feels toward him. So he probably wants to tell her, but he knows he can't. This is sort of a way he can "say" that he feels the same way about her, and even though he can't fix her problems, at least he can listen to her even if it goes against his religion.
I feel like they both had somewhat equal feelings foe one another. There situations may have made it seem as though one lacked the affection that was present in their relationship. I almost feel as though Jude in a way puts on a mask for sue, but this may just be because we only read a short part of this story. We can see that both Jude and Sue in their own ways are facing their unique demons head on. Jude seems to put aside what he might want to express and his overall beliefs in order for Sue to confide in him. I feel like Jude might have issues expressing his deep thoughts. Sue on the other hand is trapped, whether that be by her own mind or societies standards. She is struggling with her situation/marriage. In a way I feel like all this baggage would cause a barrier in the affection they show to each other in this situation.
I also thought that it wa sa mutual romantic relationship. At first I understood how a person could get the view of it being a one way road because when Sue talks about Jude's religious doctrines it seems as if Jude had used those as a base for an argument in the past. For example, maybe like a "we should not be together" type thing. But, as you all have brought to the table, Jude also says that all he wants is for Sue to be happy. This, and viewing their relationship as a 'sin' leads me to believe there was more going on than just a friendship.
Also, I came up with another thought to back up the romantic relationship I believe Jude and Sue were having. Jude says that all he wants is for Sue to be happy, no matter what becomes of him. Yes, a friend could say " i want you to be happy", but a romantic partner would add, "whatever I may be". The reason why I think the second part of Jude's statement alludes to romance is because 'whatever I may be' implies that Sue is thinking of Jude's position. In this society, if all that really happened was Sue opening up about her marriage issues to another man, she would be in the wrong; the man (Jude) would most likely not get backlash from society. So, Jude's position in this situation is pretty secure and not much for Sue to worry about. But, If Jude feels the same about Sue and the two are having an affair (whether emotional or physical) Jude's feelings are something of danger. This is why Jude feels the need to say, "whatever I may be", or basically, 'ignore my feelings, do what will make you happy'
I felt that they both had feelings for each other but there were different views from each of them of what they should do about it. Sue is conflicted about what she should be doing about marriage and is using Jude as a confidant. She seems to have feelings for him or at least trusts him because of their relationship being a "sin". It may not have to be her wanting a romantic relationship, as complaining so strongly about her marriage could be considered a sin depending on the circumstances, but a romantic relationship is strongly implied. Jude seems like he could wanting a romantic relationship with Sue, but wanting someone to be happy does not necessarily mean a romantic connection, it could be just sheer sympathy and/or empathy that he is demonstrating. I am trying to figure out what they exactly were and wanted, but it seems to be up to individual determination as there isn't hard evidence for any situation specifically.
I think this quote is Jude telling Sue to put his feelings aside and do what would make her happy. If we are assuming this is a romantic relationship, which I am because I'm a hopeless romantic, it is clear he loves her but the situation they're in doesn't permit them to be together so he wants what is best for her and only she can decide what that is. He's sacrificing his own feelings for her's and honestly, I think that's what makes it obvious it's a romantic relationship.
@madams43, I agree, Chisnell pointed this out in class and I thought it was super interesting. Jude was willing to put aside the way he feels to make sure that Sue was happy. It was romantic which led me to believe that their relationship was romantic in some sorts. This also shows that no matter what happens they both won't be happy. It's either one of them will be happy or neither of them. I think this is what the trap symbolizes, they are both trapped, and like the rabbit whatever they try to do to get out, it just ends up hurting them more.
@xwing37 I completely agree with you. Jude seems to pocket all of his emotions so he can be there for Sue. I feel like even if they were to be in a relationship that would be a barrier Jude would have to overcome to make things workout. Sue is under societal pressure to work things out with her husband, and she doesn't seem to want to. Sue is stuck in her marriage and Jude is equally as stuck in his repressed emotions.
Something that I didn't think about when I first read this was how Sue got into her predicament in the first place. It seems odd to me when I reread the story that because Jude and Sue seem to love each other that Sue would end up becoming pregnant from someone other than Jude. If Jude and Sue were in love before the marriage, it seems to me that Sue would have ended up accidently having Jude's child instead of someone else's. This made me think that either the relationship is more one-sided than it appears, with Jude liking Sue more than Sue does Jude, however I don't think this is the case based on the tone that Jude and Sue talk to each other with. This brings me to my second idea, that maybe Jude and Sue's relationship started after Sue got married, which I think gives the story a different tone.
@savhoisington That's an interesting point that Sue's word choice implies that Jude has used his religion doctrines as an argument for why she cannot confide in him. I think that thought can be seen two ways: they do not have a romantic relationship because of his religious doctrines (which I think is how you said you initially interpreted it), or that he has said it before, but he has finally decided to disregard his religious doctrines because he cares about Sue more. I think the latter is really interesting because it shows the predicament Jude is having. If this is what happened, it shows that Jude has denied his feelings for so long and told Sue that they cannot be together despite what he was feeling. But he finally settles this predicament by giving up on sticking to his religious doctrines and choosing to console Sue.
I honestly think that Jude is uneasy about sue in the text I think we see this Jude really doesn’t have any feeling towards sue because sue is trying to make Jude feel bad and trap him into a relationship because she hates her husband. So if we look at the text it is a lot of sue ranting to Jude and discussing. how she wishes that Jude could change how he is. Jude doesn’t respond back to the message that sue gives him . I can’t think of anything else and I’m with Sophie right now so I have to go
Jude has feelings for Sue. I suspected this when first reading the excerpt and seeing their first encounter. When they author wrote "Yes dear" as Jude replying to Sues calling of him it made it seem as though there was something else going on. Now Sue is a married women but yet doesn't want to be married and explains this to Jude in multiple instances. Now the second thing that led me to Jude wanting to be with Sue was out of the text given. I made that observation while writing my impromptu and after I did a little research of my own. I found that in the book Jude and Sue are cousins, and they live in a small town where majority of people know each other. Now Jude does in fact have a love for Sue but because of his religion and surroundings he is troubled by his thoughts and doesn't know if it is okay.
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