Jude The Obscure: The Relationship Between Point Of View And Setting.

1762 words - 8 pages

In part one chapter two of the novel Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy the author depends upon external narration shifting freely to external omniscient narration in order to provide sufficient information about the village in which the main character, Jude, lives. The setting, Marygreen is situated in the agricultural region of Wessex in the south west of England. In the beginning of this chapter the point of view shifts from that of the main character, Jude, to the point of view of his aunt, Mrs Fawley. This shifting narration constructs the ambience of Marygreen. The first part of this essay describes the oppressive nature of the place, where Jude resides. The external narrator depicts Marygreen as oppressive by intruding into the dialogue between the dominant characters, Jude’s aunt, and the villagers. The second part discusses the landscape setting and the events that are narrated from both Jude’s and an external omniscient point of view, which produce a representation of how the boy feels. The third part examines the use of external omniscience, which the narrator as authoritative voice reveals the setting of Marygreen and moreover establishes the reader perception of the boy’s place within this environment. The shifting point of view constructs Marygreen, partially, as an oppressive place which can be read as an analogy for Jude’s misfortunate life.

The narrator depicts the oppressive nature of Marygreen by intruding into the dialogue between the Mrs Fawley and the villagers. The aunt, at her private residence, entertains her village friends by talking about her nephew Jude. She constantly pities and undermines the boy. Her attitude towards Jude is exemplified in her statement; ‘It would ha’ been a blessing if Goddy-mighty had took thee too, wi’ thy mother and father, poor useless boy!’ (8). She implies that it would have been better if Jude had died with his parents. This proves that he is not welcomed and loved. She is self-interested and gives Jude no attention and love. As a result Jude’s home environment is cold and remote. Mrs Fawley is unconscious of how her actions affect the boy’s feelings. For example, she says ‘Why do ye turn away, Jude?’ (8). Mrs Fawley demonstrates a lack of understanding that he feels embarrassed and scrutinised by her dramatising about his life. For Jude, the atmosphere that Mrs Fawley creates is very intimidating. This is exemplified when the boy feels his aunt’s companions’ ‘glances like slaps upon his face’ (8). The reader may infer that Jude is sensitive and different, and this humiliation creates an oppressive situation for the boy. Later, Mrs Fawley refuses to acknowledge the comment made by one of her companions, the local washerwomen, who for instance says that Jude could ‘kip’ee company in your loneliness, fetch water ... help in the bit o’baking and (8). This is typified when she replies back ‘I doubt it’ (8). The aunt implies that regardless of her companions seeing the boy as being of help in...

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