In Jude the Obscure, one man, Jude Fawley, dreams of elevating his station by becoming a scholar at Christminster. Instead, the choices he makes or is forced to make keep him from reaching his goal. The bleak Victorian novel zeroes in on the expectations of society and what happens to people who try to go their own way. Jude and his lover, Sue Bridehead, decide not to get married, even though they have children together. A tragedy pushes the pair apart at the end and Jude ends up dying without Sue.

Summary of Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure Chapter Summaries (Free)

1SparkNotes

Review: The most popular website for book notes. SparkNotes was created by students for students, and their summaries are accessible and extremely well-written. Besides the usual plot overview, chapter summaries, and character analysis, SparkNotes differentiates itself with a section discussing themes, motifs, and symbols.

2Pink Monkey

Review: Their chapter summaries aren't as good as other providers, but PinkMonkey often has interesting insights that aren't mentioned elsewhere on the Internet. For example, they go over literary elements (like setting, conflict, and mood), compare and contrast, and symbolism/motifs. It's a good site if you want to find a unique fact or angle that other students don't know about.