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ENL 4122
English Novel

Spring 2006
Time: Monday and Wednesday
11:00 - 12:15

Class 8

Reading Assignment:

Feb. 6 Tom Jones Books VII-IX, through p. 337
    Post #4 (Group A)
    Historical Annotation: Alicia True and Clark Cutchin


Class Objectives:

  • To discuss Jones' journey
  • To discuss the interpolated stories (Man of the Hill)
  • To discuss Jones and Mrs. Waters


Notes and Discussion Questions:

1. Tom Jones' Journey

From Pope’s Essay on Man

    All nature is but Art, Unknown to thee
    All chance Direction, which thou canst not see;
    All Discord, Harmony, not understood;
    All partial Evil, universal Good.

Tom Jones is a model of the Christian Humanist world view
  • Fortune / chance becomes direction
  • Nature is art, yet unknown or imperfectly understood
  • Partial evil turns to universal Good – seeing ourselves, our fates as contributing to a larger whole, a greater good

    Examine these ideas as expressed in the chance and direction of Tom's journey in these chapters. While the characters debate issues of Christianity and honor, what does the narrative suggest about faith in a divinely ordered universe? We will come back to the idea of art/fiction and god/author throughout the text.

    Book VII – Chapter ii begins with Jones’ expulsion from Paradise:
    Blifil’s letter informs Jones of Allworthy’s judgment – he is to leave the country immediately.

    “I will go this Moment – but whither? Why let fortune direct; since there is no other who thinks it of any Consequence what becomes of this wretched person, it shall be a matter of equal indifference to myself” (214).

    Fielding compares his hero with Milton’s Adam from Paradise Lost, who upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden was presented with the same question. “The World, as Milton phrases it, lay all before him; and Jones, no more than Adam, had any Man to whom he might resort for comfort or Assistance” (214).

    Examine the allegorical significance. How is Jones like Adam? What are the implications for the narrative?

    What lessons does Jones need to learn?


    2. Interpolated Stories

    That narrative spends a great deal of time on the story of the Man of the Hill. Why? What is the thematic relevance for Tom's story?

    What is the importance of romantic love in his story?

    What are the characteristics of good love?

    What is Jones’ response to the Old man’s retirement from the world?

    How does the Man of the Hill's story compare with earlier stories of love and filial devotion in this section? (ie. Quaker's story at the inn; Sophia's arguments with Mrs. Western on marriage).


    3. Mrs. Waters

    What motivates Tom's relationship with Mrs. Waters? In what sense is this relationship like his relationship with Molly Seagrim? In what sense is this an escalation of his crimes?

    Book IX chap. V is a chapter made famous by a particularly well adapted scene in the 1966 film of Tom Jones. Examine the comic parallel it develops between eating and sex. What is the common denominator and what does this indicate about our hero?

    How does the narrator treat this "transgression"?

    “To speak out boldy at once, she was in love, according to the present universally received sense of that phrase, by which love is applied indiscriminately to the desirable objects of all our passions, appetites, and senses, and is understood to be that preference which we give to one kind of food rather than to another” (329).

    The narrator invokes the muses to describe the battle scene of love – the “whole artillery of love” deployed by Mrs. Waters to gain her victim, Jones.9.5 pages 330-1.

    Analyze the effect of the narrator's description. What are the implications of Jones’ “defeat”?

    How does this "love" compare with earlier ones? What is the effect of the narrator's repeated use of the term"love"?


    4. Historical suggestions

    Jacobite Rebellion of 1745

    Foot soldiers / volunteers

    Window tax

    Physicians, surgeons, barbers

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