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Summary. Chapter 1. The narrator defines his writing by the truth it represents, which is in stark contrast to the embellished fiction fit only to line.
Table of contents
- The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling - Wikipedia
- The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling/Book IV
- by Henry Fielding
Molly's not just going to take that kind of thing lying down: And since she's standing in the churchyard, the stuff that's close to hand is mostly bones from a nearby fresh grave. Molly throws, like, a femur at someone. Along with a few skulls. This is the most ridiculously morbid girlfight ever. Molly's doing pretty well, as she keeps beating people with that handy thighbone she grabbed out of the ground. Throughout this whole ridiculous scene, the narrator keeps using really fancy classical references.
Captain Blifil and his wife start to grow cool towards one another, and the former is found dead from apoplexy one evening after taking his customary evening stroll before dinner. By then he has fathered a boy, who grows up with the bastard Tom. Captain Blifil's son, known as Master Blifil, is a miserable and jealous boy who conspires against Tom. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty yet honest and kindhearted youth.
He tends to be closer friends with the servants and gamekeepers than with members of the gentry. He is close friends with Black George, who is the gamekeeper. His first love is Molly, Black George's second daughter and a local beauty.
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling - Wikipedia
She throws herself at Tom, who gets her pregnant and then feels obliged to offer her his protection. After some time, however, Tom finds out that Molly is somewhat promiscuous. He then falls in love with a neighbouring squire's lovely daughter, Sophia Western. Tom and Sophia confess their love for each other after Tom breaks his arm rescuing Sophia.
Tom's status as a bastard causes Sophia's father and Allworthy to oppose their love.
This aspect of class friction gives Fielding an opportunity for biting social commentary. The inclusion of prostitution and sexual promiscuity in the plot was also original for its time, and the foundation for criticism of the book's "lowness". Squire Allworthy falls ill and is convinced that he is dying. His family and servants gather around his bed as he disposes his wealth. He gives a favourable amount of his wealth to Tom Jones, which displeases Master Blifil.
Tom doesn't care about what he has been given, since his only concern is Allworthy's health. Allworthy's health improves and we learn that he will live.
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Tom Jones is so excited that he begins to get drunk and gets into a fight with Blifil. Sophia wants to conceal her love for Tom so she gives a majority of her attention to Blifil when the three of them are together.
Squire Western wants Sophia to marry Blifil in order to gain property from the Allworthy estate. Blifil learns of Sophia's true affection for Tom Jones and is angry. Blifil tells Allworthy that on the day he almost died Tom was out drinking and singing and celebrating his coming death. Tom is expelled from Allworthy's estate and begins his adventures across Britain, eventually ending up in London.
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling/Book IV
On the way he meets a barber, Partridge, who was banished from town because he was thought to be the father of Tom Jones. He becomes Tom's faithful companion in the hope of restoring his reputation. During their journey they end up at an inn where a lady and her maid arrive. An angry man arrives and the chambermaid points him in the direction she thinks he needs to go.
He bursts in on Tom and Mrs Waters, a woman whom Tom rescued, in bed together. The man, however, was looking for Mrs Fitzpatrick and leaves. Sophia christened the bird "little Tommy" and became so attached to it that feeding and playing with the bird was her greatest pastime. One day in the garden Blifil persuades Sophia to let him hold little Tommy for a moment. On acquiring the bird, Blifil quickly removes the string from the bird's leg and releases it.
by Henry Fielding
Beckoned by Sophia's screams, Tom runs to them and climbs the tree where the bird has perched itself. The branch breaks and Tom tumbles into the canal below. When the adults arrive at the scene, Blifil confesses that it is his fault and explains that he cannot stand to see anything not have its liberty. Tom and Blifil are sent home, Sophia retires to her chamber, and the adults return to their alcohol. Square, Thwackum, Squire Western, Allworthy, and a lawyer friend of Western's argue about whether Blifil's actions were right or wrong.
Square and Thwackum praise Blifil. Western, annoyed with Blifil for depriving Sophia of her bird, simply urges his guests to continue drinking. Allworthy thinks that the action was wrong, but the motivation good, and therefore resolves not to punish the boy.
The lawyer enigmatically declares that property rights are "nullius in bonis," confounding the rest of the participants.