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Alex is originally from California but considers herself to be a 'citizen of the world'. She studied Comparative Literature and French Language. She spends most of her time at parks reading, taking naps under trees and listening to music.
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My high school English professor said Jude the Obscure was the most depressing book he ever read, so I read it (partly because I liked depressing books but mostly because I was intrigued by a book that aroused such a strong opinion*), and I loved it. I respectfully disagree Dr. P*******, it is beautifully tragic.
This summer I endeavored to read all of Thomas Hardy’s novels, “The Summer of Hardy!” I proclaimed it. Of the nine or so that I read Jude remains my favorite.
Jude became obsessed with the idea of becoming a scholar after his teacher left his small village school to pursue higher education. He studies intensely every evening, teaching himself Latin and Greek, with the hopes of entering the university in nearby Christminster. This passion for learning (like Faust before he got bored), continues throughout his adult life; it survives past his jobs, marriages and children. He eventually moves to Christminster to be closer to the University where he falls in love with modern, free-spirited,willfull, intelligent, beautiful, irrational Sue Bridehead. Then... life happens, and Hardy tells it soo well.
I’ve coerced many friends of mine to read this book, by talking about it constantly and reading passages out loud, I liked what Blake had to say, “I like the way he has particular moments of individual psychological clarity.” It’s true! Hardy’s creates these characters that are really psychologically developed. He also writes excellent female characters, something I’m surprised no one ever mentions.
I can see why some people label this book as depressing; certain events in the book are unpleasant. However, Hardy is not interested in the shock value of difficult situations but rather how his characters, how people, react to them. In this respect I consider him to be a very modern and important author.
*William How, an English Bishop, also felt strongly about this book; he burned it publicly the year it was published.