Characterization in Hardy’s Jude the Obscure: The Function of Arabella
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D. H. Lawrence insists in ‘The Novel and the Feelings’ that the conscious understanding of the dark and deep, unconscious passions is the only salvation for the human race and that great novels can bring us to this understanding. I agree with Lawrence’s view, and I also agree with his assertion in that essay that characterization is the most important aspect in a novel.1 On the initial and most obvious level, characterization tells us what kind of novel we are reading.
KeywordsRevealing Character Creative Imagination Conscious Knowledge Sexual Ideology Sexual Instinct
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- 1.D. H. Lawrence, Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence, ed. Edward D. McDonald (London: William Heinemann, 1936) pp. 759–60.Google Scholar
- 4.Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy: 1840–1928 (London: Macmillan, 1962) pp. 176–7.Google Scholar
- 5.Wayne Burns, ‘Flesh and Spirit in Jude the Obscure’, Recovering Literature, vol. 1, no. 3 (1972) 5–21Google Scholar
- and Rosemarie Morgan, Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (London: Routledge, 1988) both give extended treatment to Arabella and arrive at very different conclusions about her function in the novel.Google Scholar
- 6.Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (London: Macmillan, 1974) Pt I, Ch. 5.Google Scholar
- Penny Boumelha, Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form (Brighton: Harvester, 1982) offers two possibilities: either Vilbert advises her to ‘pretend to be pregnant’ or he gives her some ‘female pills’, which she writes, without providing a source, was ‘a widely-understood euphemism for abortifacients’ (p. 152).Google Scholar
- 9.Wayne Burns, The Panzaic Principle (Vancouver, 1965)Google Scholar
- reprinted in Recovering Literature (Spring, 1976)Google Scholar
- reprinted in William K. Buckley, Sense Tender: Recovering the Novel for the Reader (New York: Peter Lang, 1989)Google Scholar
- 10.Alex Comfort, ‘The Rape of Andromeda’, in Darwin and the Naked Lady: Discursive Essays on Biology and Art (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961) pp. 74–99.Google Scholar