Social and Moral Issues Raised in Thomas Hardy's Novel
Anglų kursinis darbas. Introduction. Social and moral issues in the victorian era. Social and moral issues raised in jude the obscure. Moral issues raised in jude the obscure. Conclusion. List of references. Appendix a: summary of jude the obscure.
The English novelist, poet, and dramatists Thomas Hardy was born in 1840, in Higher Bockhampton in Dorset, England (Diniejko). His last novel Jude the Obscure, which was first published in 1895, was received controversially by the society of that time (Diniejko). Jude the Obscure was regarded as an open attack upon the institution of marriage and Thomas Hardy was criticized strongly for publishing this novel. When his last novel, which Hardy himself regarded as one of his best works, was assessed negatively by the public Hardy decided to stop writing novels and returned to poetry (Diniejko).
The novel takes place in the Victorian England. The protagonist Jude, an orphan, lives with his great-aunt and dreams to become a scholar one day. But his plans are ruined by undesirable marriage with Arabella who seduces him and makes him believe that she is pregnant. Their marriage is unhappy and Arabella leaves Jude who moves to Christminster, where he tries to enter a college unsuccessfully. In Christminster Jude meets his cousin Sue and falls in love with her. After some time Sue marries with Jude’s teacher Phillotson but she also find her marriage disappointing and asks her husband to let her go, to which he agrees. Jude and Sue become lovers but they never enter into marriage. Later, Jude’s son from the first marriage kills other Jude’s and Sue’s children and hangs himself. After this disaster Sue leaves Jude and comes back to Phillotson. Jude, then, remarries Arabella, bet becomes ill and dies soon after that.
The action of the novel takes place in the Victorian England and the characters encounter and question social and moral norms and issues of the period. Thus, it is important to discuss and present the social structure, the accepted social norms as well as moral values prevailing during the Victorian Era. The first subsection discusses the social issues of the nineteenth century England. The second subsection looks at the moral issues of the period.
This subsection focuses on the social issues in the Victorian Era. Firstly, the subsection discusses in detail the social structure of the period and child labour. Then, the education system and access to education are presented, taking into consideration the social classes of the period.
Although some legal acts, which limited working hours both for adults and for children, were passed in the first half of the nineteenth century, child labour continued throughout the whole Victorian Era (Miller). It was partially because poor families themselves were not in favour of banning child labour as such laws resulted in decrease of the family’s earnings (Ravenhill-Johnson 260).
This subsection discusses the moral issues that were present in the Victorian England. Firstly, religion as the basis of the Victorian morality is observed. The development of religious ideas and influence of the Christian values on the everyday life of people are presented. Secondly, the issue of marriage is discussed. This subsection looks at marriage as a moral value and briefly reviews the basic reasons for forming a family in the Victorian Era. Moreover, the issue of divorce is discussed and the main problems related with intimate pre-marital relationships are provided. Finally, this subsection deals with a phenomenon of the New Woman and the attitude of the New Woman towards marriage and family.