The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling Summary & Analysis

Tom Jones

Contents

Tom Jones Summary

 

The narrator provides that his purpose within the text is going to be to explore “human nature.” As such, his story veers between several extremes – comedy and tragedy, low and society, moral and base.

 

Squire Allworthy, a person defined by his interminable kindness, returns to his Somersetshire estate to seek out a toddler abandoned in his bed. He gives the kid to his sister Bridget to seem after, and that they investigate to work out that the child’s mother may be a girl named Jenny Jones. She leaves the world, and Allworthy decides to boost the boy, Tom Jones. Tom is mentioned alongside Allworthy’s nephew Blifil, Bridget’s son. they’re educated by two men of differing outlook, Thwackum, and Square. Blifil may be a miserable and jealous boy.

 

Tom is an impetuous character who supports his friend, the poor gamekeeper Black George Seagrim, even when that support causes him trouble. Meanwhile, through his relationship with Squire Western, Allworthy’s boorish but affable neighbor, Tom slowly falls crazy with the squire’s daughter Sophia, who also involves love him.

 

However, Tom cannot pursue Sophia because his girlfriend Molly, daughter to Black George, grows pregnant with what he believes to be his son. When he’s revealed to not be the daddy of Molly’s child, Tom is liberal to pursue his emerging love for Sophia.

 

Blifil conspires against Tom, and he’s unjustly clothed of Allworthy’s house and far away from Sophia. Further, because Tom may be a bastard child, Squire Western refuses to support Tom’s suit for Sophia and instead wishes her to marry Blifil so that he can consolidate their lands. Sophia hates Blifil and is tortured by her father’s cruel insistence.

 

Allworthy gives Tom a good sum of cash to support himself, but it’s stolen by Black George. Tom considers joining the military. He meets up with Partridge, a teacher-cum-barber whose reputation was ruined when he was believed to be Tom’s father years before. Partridge initially believes that he can return to Allworthy’s favor if he reunites the person with Tom, but Partridge ultimately becomes a faithful companion along the way. Tom frequently shows his benevolent spirit by helping an unsuccessful highwayman, a beggar and a woman in distress – all gestures which are richly repaid later within the novel.

 

Sophia is locked up for refusing to marry Blifil. She flees, and both Tom and Sophia attempt to locate one another on their respective journeys to London. She discovers he has slept with Mrs. Waters (a woman he rescues) which he’s mentioning her name to strangers, and she or he decides he must not love her. She then heads to London, and Tom follows her.

 

While in London, Tom takes up with the promiscuous and wily Lady Bellaston, with whom Sophia is staying. She promises to assist him but endeavors to stay the lovers apart.

 

Sophia is additionally roughly courted by Lord Fellamar. Her aunt, Lady Western, is anxious for her to marry him, whereas her father remains adamant that she is going to marry Blifil. Sophia decides she is going to marry no-one without her father’s consent, but also will not be told whom to marry.

 

Tom is innocently trapped during a duel and imprisoned. His friend Nightingale, loyal companion Partridge, and devoted landlady Mrs. Miller investigate the course of Tom’s imprisonment and sustain his contact with Sophia. there’s tension when it’s initially believed that Mrs. Waters is Tom’s mother, but this is often revealed to be untrue. Allworthy is shocked to get that Tom is his nephew, Bridget’s illegitimate but first-born son, which Blifil has known about this since his mother’s death. it’s discovered that Blifil engineered Tom’s imprisonment to urge him out of the way.

 

The charges against Tom are dropped and his marriage to Sophia is blessed by both Allworthy and Squire Western. Blifil is banished but has an annuity from Allworthy and Tom. Sophia and Tom live happily, on the brink of Nightingale and Mrs. Miller’s daughter Nancy, whose union Tom facilitated. Partridge is given an annuity to start a replacement school and marries Tom’s first girl, Molly Seagrim.

Tom Jones

 

Analysis

 

I am convinced, my child, that you simply have much goodness, generosity, and honor in your temper; if you’ll add prudence and religion to thoseyou want to be happy: for the three former qualities, I admit, cause you to deserve happiness, but they’re the latter only which can put you in possession of it.

Allworthy, Page 228
Allworthy believes he’s on his deathbed when he gives this recommendation to Tom. The recommendations indicate Fielding’s intention for the event of his main character. Tom’s story is going to be a struggle toward the wisdom of possessing these virtues. The qualities mentioned also support the novel’s main purpose: to explore attributes, and therefore the way that goodness can sometimes prove more rewarding than vice, even when circumstances might suggest otherwise.

 

Your bodies, and not your brains, are stronger than ours. Believe me, it’s well for you that you simply are ready to beat us, or such is that the superiority of our understanding, we should always make all of you what the brave, and witty, and polite are already – our slaves.

Mrs. Western, Page 257
These observations on the prevalence of girls are progressive not only for the time but also for having been written by a personduring a world where men control the wedding contract, she suggests that ladies could still control aspects if they use subterfuge and cleverness – this claim is played call at many characters later. there’s an understatement , however, therein her words of wisdom and warning are followed later by the revelation that she isn’t as astute a judge as she first imagined. Her feminine wiles are only useful in terms of deceit and baseness; when Sophia features a pure love for Tom, she is unable to know it and thinks the love is directed towards Blifil.

 

In this instance, life most exactly resembles the stage, since it’s often an equivalent one that represents the villain and therefore the heroes; and he who engages your admiration to-day will probably attract your contempt to-morrow… one bad act no more constitutes a villain in life, than one bad part on the stage.

 

Narrator, Page 302
Here, the narrator examines the varied responses to Black George’s actions to keep the cash he found. This observation clarifies the roundness of Fielding’s characters and his belief that we are all capable of virtue and vice alike. due to this capacity for a complication, he believes we all got to be judged by our overall character, and not by individual actions. He manifests this philosophy through his hero Tom Jones, who falters along his path to wisdom but ultimately succeeds through overall strength of character.
Mankind has never been so happy, as when the best a part of the then known world was under the dominion of one master.

 

Narrator, Page 596
The narrator muses on the steadiness of the gypsy people, attributing it to their absolute monarchy. there’s a political subtext here – England should have an all-powerful king. Of course, Fielding isn’t naive, and he later explains how an honest king must have several important virtues, which offers a cynical contradiction, since few if any people possess all the virtues he lists. Nevertheless, he does believe a monarchy better to his contemporary form of government.
Fortel me that some tender maid, whose grandmother isn’t yet born, hereafter, when, under the fictional name of Sophia, she reads the important worth which once existed in my Charlotte, shall, from her sympathetic breast, send forth a heaving sigh.

 

Narrator, Page 607
Here the narrator contemplates the immortalizing of Fielding’s first wife, Charlotte Cradock, within the character of Sophia Western. The comment is tinged with wistful hope that her memory will survive and her virtues are going to be appreciated by other women within the future. This personal sentiment echoes the way that this novel is so concerned with marriage, and its implicit hope that folks will learn to marry for happiness and not greed.
Comfort me…I shall be read, with honor, by those that never knew nor saw me, and whom I shall neither know nor see.

 

Narrator, Page 607
The narrator considers the likelihood of achieving his immortality through this text. Fielding was, of course, entirely justified during this assertion and clearly understood the longevity of his new sort of writing. He avoids sounding too arrogant due to the novel’s incessant wit and irony, which makes it possible to softly mock the narrator during this assertion also.
If there are men who cannot feel the delight of giving happiness to others, I sincerely pity them, as they’re incapable of tasting what’s, in my opinion, a greater honor, a better interest, and a sweeter pleasure, than the ambitious, the avaricious, or the voluptuous man can ever obtain.

 

Tom Jones, Page 644
Here, Tom Jones explains his motivation to act intrinsically with a generous spirit. he’s rapidly becoming the young man Squire Allworthy wished him to be. Because Tom has his faults and weaknesses, his words here have more meaning and appear more genuine as a result. This stands in contrast to Richardson’s Pamela, during which the heroine comes across as sanctimonious in such sentiments. In other words, Tom Jones wishes to seek out virtue within the midst of realistic complication, and not from unrealistically virtuous characters. We must find out how the planet works through experience, then hopefully we have the strength to settle on the virtuous path.
To see a lady you’re keen on in distress; to be unable to alleviate her, and at an equivalent time to reflect that you simply have brought her into this example, is, perhaps, a curse of which no imagination can represent the horrors to those that haven’t felt it.

 

Man of Capitol Hill, Page 408
Here, the person of Capitol Hill considers the good pressure he felt upon fleeing with a lady he lacked the means to support. the thought forces Tom Jones to contemplate his future with Sophia, should they face poverty when their union is rejected by both families. what’s inherent this statement is that the concept we must remember our responsibilities to at least one another to seek out true happiness. Tom cannot simply run away with Sophia – he must remember what the results might be.
We have got the dog fox, I warrant the bitch isn’t far away.

 

Squire Western, Page 491
The hunting metaphor reveals the extent to which Squire Western is preoccupied together with his country pursuits. Though his quest to seek out his daughter is ostensibly his top priority – he claims she is that the love of his life and his greed is likewise undisguised – this phrase shows that it’s almost sort of a pastime to him, how to fill the hours. very similar to he does with hunting, he thinks of it as a game, which robs it of its emotional weight. this concept reveals not only the hypocrisy of the upper crust but also the way they hold close certain rituals even when those rituals contradict their professed sentiments.

 

I am not a hardened sinner; I thank Heaven I even have had time to reflect on my past life, where, though I cannot charge myself with any gross villainy, yet I can discern follies and vices too sufficient to repent and be ashamed of; follies which are attended with dreadful consequences to myself, and have brought me to the brink of destruction.

 

Tom Jones, Page 853
Tom Jones summarizes his path through the novel, acknowledging his errors both great and little. He has finally gained an understanding of the impact one man can have upon the lives of others. His proximity to the tragedy has allowed Tom to ascertain the worth within the generosity of spirit. Again, Fielding argues through this that really good people must acknowledge the baseness both within themselves and in the world. We cannot ignore the existence of those things, but instead, once we accept them, we will choose the trail to goodness. during this lies wisdom.

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