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In Jude the Obscure, why does the name "Beersheba" sound romantic? 

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linayari | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 4, 2013 at 9:30 PM via web

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In Jude the Obscure, why does the name "Beersheba" sound romantic? 

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 5, 2013 at 9:22 PM (Answer #1)

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Jude attaches special significance to biblical names and places, of which Beersheeba is one - a city in the region of modern day Israel.

When Jude and Sue begin to move from place to place after finding that their reputation is suffering in Aldbrickham (due to the fact that they are raising children out of wedlock), they eventually land in a place called Beersheba.

By this point, Jude's aims have led him only failure. Desiring to become educated in a university, he has been barred entrance. Desiring to marry Sue, he has been forced to accept a partnership with her that is not bound by law or religion. In this, Jude progresses toward an intellectual agreement with Sue on the necessity of marriage.

Jude and Sue are not so much concerned with the legal and social institution as with the effect of the institution on their inner lives.

Despite these failures and despite Jude's growing sense (as brought on by Sue) that his aims had not truly had integrity, Jude harbors a continued romantic vision of Christminster and related ideas of education and achievement.

Ultimately, Jude finds that he cannot abandon or separate himself from his initial romantic idea and ideals. By the time Jude finds himself in Beersheba, his position has again shifted and he feels that he must marry Sue, for practical and spiritual reasons. 

The focus of the novel has moved from Jude’s theoretical pondering to the intellectual and emotional discourse of Jude and Sue, and is now on the practical consequences of Jude’s and Sue’s relationship.

His attraction to Beersheba and Christminster can be taken as a demonstration of Jude's deeply felt spiritual affinity for a life that he has not been able to attain, characterized by learning, connection, and the attainment of security, position and love. 

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