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I thought we should talk about our first prose/ passage response impromptu. We've done a few poems so how did you feel about the passage on Jane the Obscure? I thought it was a bit easier to follow along, but a little difficult picking out details because we don't know most of the story given. Overall I like picking apart a poem a bit more then a given passage. What did you think of Jane the Obscure? Do you like the Prose or poem analysis?
We are first introduced to Jude, emotional in a way that directs to a prolonged sadness. Going down to end the rabbits suffering, we can observe some symbolism between Jude and the rabbit. Having marital issues we see our next character Sue is almost stuck in this fit of anger and sadness. A realization that her issues are not only personal but have roots in the society she lives in. This passage from Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy is one that uses diction, symbolism and tone to reflect on varying issues and tensions between the characters and the overall plot.
We can see that Jude is very malleable with his emotions, whether it be towards Sue or the trapped rabbit. Looking back to when he used to save earthworms, he is mentally pushed to go and kill the rabbit. We see this almost mask he puts on over his initial sadness, to go and kill this rabbit and to listen to Sue’s issues instead of talking about his own. “He knew that Sue was sitting within its walls equally lonely and disheartened…” The initial tone is one filled with a string of low spirited descriptors such as “lonely room”. He is in control of what he shows to others, and he never seems to focus on his personal demons. The rabbit in this passage could be a symbol of just that. Jude’s misery. Jude has a very prominent sympathetic trait in a harsh world. This rabbit is like Jude himself, but with no one to put him out of his misery. Jude is almost weak in a sense that he acknowledges everyone's emotions but his own. Being sympathetic in a demanding world is almost self destructive.
Face to face with marital struggles Sue shares sadness along with Jude. Afraid that Jude will judge her issues, he assures her that it is alright. Almost as if he is swaying away from his previous religious beliefs. So set back in society's shoes Sue believes she is almost wicked to act as she does to her husband. Alluding to her freedom being a sort of sin. The tone here almost seems as though she has lost hope in her situation. Society has eyes on her and they are not the forgiving type. Though her mindset is quick to flip back to her thoughts. The tone slowly changes to one of progression in Sue's thinking. “I daresay it happens to lots of women, only they submit, and I kick....” Sue’s situation is one filled with a contrast of emotions emulated in changes in tone. She is almost lost in the thoughts of society, when she starts to think in her best interest.
The nature of each individual situation is depicted in many ways. Describing these situations in symbols or just a simple change in tone. We see that Jude and Sue are going through their emotions very differently. Jude is somewhat closed in, almost running from his issues. Whereas Sue is willing and able to share her thoughts out loud. These characters are very different in nature, though both situations radiate a sort of overall sadness or despair.
This was an Interesting little passage with the info given we were able to pick out some important details. These details pertaining to both the characters and their situations in Jane the Obscure.
There is actually a lot of symbolism in Jude the Obscure. For example, the trap that caught the rabbit symbolizes how Jude and Sue cant be together. Both Sue and Jude are caught in the trap of their first marriages, painful to both in different ways, and they do a lot of damage to themselves by escaping from those traps to live together.
I agree with @madams43 in that the rabbit trap is definitely symbolism for the fact that jude and sue cannot be together for religious and societal reasons. Overall I did not really like this impromptu and much prefer the poems. It might just be me but I struggled a great deal for the first and second time i read this passage trying to figure out what was happening. Obviously I understood the symbolism with the trap but I had issue figuring out the religious aspect. Just some things to work on I suppose... Anyone else struggle there?
@carlatortelli I find it interesting how you connect the rabbit to Jude’s emotions. I agree that he is mentally pushed to kill the rabbit as he views himself as someone responsible for “putting animals out of their misery”. However, I think that the connection between the rabbit and Jude has a stronger meaning. Jude’s inability to concentrate on anything but the dying rabbit and feeling forced to put that problem to sleep quickly almost acts as symbolism for his dilemma with Sue. It’s eating at him, and he feels a sort of mental push to put the problem to sleep. The difference is with Sue, he doesn’t quite know how and tries to run away from the problem instead.
I thought this passage was my favorite so far out of all of the passages we have read for impromptus so far. It was easier to follow, as it had more of a storytelling structure, and the conflict was easier to decipher. I found it really easy to determine the contrasts between Jude and Sue in such a short passage, as they were both written well and were easily distinguishable in terms of how each handled their common dilemma.
Something else I enjoyed about this piece was the moral conflict both Jude and Sue had to undergo, and how they both handled it with a different sense of guilt. Jude felt incredibly guilty for his feelings toward Sue, and we can see that he handles many of his dilemmas with a greater amount of guilt. We see that with the rabbit, as he felt guilty if he didn’t put it out of its misery. Sue, on the other hand, was shown to deal with the conflict with less guilt. She thought leaving her marriage as an act of liberation more than anything else.
Personally, I liked analyzing "Jude the Obscure" more than the poetry analysis we've done in the past. For me, it was easier to understand and interpret than most of the poetry we have read so far. I found the language in the passage easier to understand and the overall structure of the story. One thing that made it harder to understand was only reading a small passage from a larger piece. As I worked, though, I found it easier to look at the passage as if it was the whole story. It became easier for me to recognize a lot of the symbolism that I found in the piece.
@madams43 This is something I did not consider. I can see what you mean about the trap symbolizing the trapped marriage both characters find themselves in. I focused on the symbolism of the dying rabbit and how it tied into Jude’s emotions, but focusing in on the trap itself is very eye-opening. I didn’t realize how much symbolism was in this passage.
I really enjoyed reading this passage from Jude the Obscure! I am coming around to enjoying poetry, but I still enjoy reading prose more. The first time I read it, I wasn't exactly sure of the significance of the passage or how the rabbit was relevant, but as I began to read it again, I realized there is soooo much symbolism in the passage. First, I think the rabbit symbolizes Sue, and the trap is her marriage. @madams43 said she thinks it represents both of their marriages, but I can't find anywhere in the passage where it says that Jude is married, just Sue. A quick Google search informed me that he was married, but is divorcing his wife. But I didn't see anything in that particular passage saying that he was married (if anyone can find anything though, please point it out and correct me). So I think the trap symbolizes Sue's marriage, but not Jude's. If we want to connect the trap to Jude, we could probably say that it is his religion prohibiting him from being Sue's confidant, but I don't think that's necessary. And Sue is the rabbit. She wants out of her marriage (trap), but she is stuck. If she tries to get out, she will be severely hurt (like the rabbit would be) because of society's rules. She also says at one point, "only they submit, and I kick" referring to other women trapped in marriages. It is stated earlier in the passage that most rabbits will stop crying not long after they get caught in the trap. But this one didn't, just like Sue didn't get complacent in her marriage. In the beginning it is shown that Jude cares for every creature so much that he won't even let earthworms die if he can stop it. But he eventually decides he has to kill the rabbit. I think this is similar to how his religion says he cannot be Sue's confidant, but he does so anyway. In both situations he goes against his morals to help another person or animal.
The passage "Jude the obscure" was quite a wonderful one to read. The author of the story beautifully layed out literary devices to employ a meaning that with out them, wouldn't resonate with people. The bunny analogy was one of them. As he explained the different types of struggles a bunny could face, he included the situation Sue was in. Sue felt like the bunny in some way. She was frustrated but inclined to stay in the situation she was in. She was accepting her stay (marriage) with jude. It hurt but she thought "well there could be worse".
I personally preferred this type of impromptu over the other two that we have done. I believe that this text left the right amount of room for interpretation, not enough where you were scrambling to choose what the devices depicted but not too little in the sense that the text was too dry. The prompt also seemed very straightforward, it is one of those ones where we are given examples of what to write about but are encouraged to think beyond and include a more nuanced meaning than the obvious. I agree with many above that "Jude the Obscure" was a passage that I had to read twice to really grasp the symbolism of the rabbit and other devices, such as diction and tone. But of course I am willing to give it that second read to make sure I am confident with my writing and have a good grasp of the text.
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