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Tom Jones Summary | Henry Fielding

Tom Jones Summary | Henry Fielding

Tom Jones is a great comic novel by Henry Fielding. Here, he discusses the impact of parental authority which stands against the choice of children regarding love and marriage. In the following content, we are going to discuss Tom Jones summary.

Writer’s Intro:

Henry Fielding (22 April 1707 – 8 October 1754) was an English novelist and dramatist best known for his rich, earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones.

Theme of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
The conflict between parental authority and individual choice in matters of love and marriage is the novel’s theme.Character List of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.

Tom Jones– Tom Jones, a “bastard” raised by the philanthropic Allworthy, is the novel’s eponymous hero and protagonist.

Sophia Western: Sophia Western is the beautiful and kind heroine of Fielding’s story. She is the daughter of the cruel Squire Western. Sophia finds a way to love Tom, be loyal to her father, and hate Blifil at the same time. She does this by being brave and patient. Sophia, like Tom, gives lots of gifts to poor people, and she treats everyone with such respect that one landlady can’t believe she is a “gentlewoman.”

Mr. Allworthy: His name says it all: Mr. Allworthy is a good person.

Master Blifil: Master Blifil is the son of Bridget Allworthy and Captain Blifil. He is a bad guy who wants to hurt Tom Jones.

Squire Western: Squire Western is a parody of the rough-and-tumble, old-fashioned country gentleman.

Mrs. Western: Mrs. Western is the opposite of her brother, Squire Western. She is a caricature of a fake city woman who always does what is best for her.

Partridge: Allworthy says that Tom’s father is the teacher named Partridge. He is kind of like Harlequin in a funny way (Fielding even compares him to Harlequin).

Jenny Jones: Jenny Jones, whose real name is Mrs. Waters, is a student at Partridge who Allworthy kicks out because he thinks she is Tom’s mother. At the end of the book, we find out that Jenny is not Tom’s mother.

Bridget Allworthy – Blifil and Tom’s mother is Bridget Allworthy.

Lady Bellaston: She is a London lady and a relative of Sophia. She has a fiery, lustful personality that makes her get involved in plots.

Harriet Fitzpatrick: Harriet Fitzpatrick is the wife of Mr. Fitzpatrick and the cousin of Sophia.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Harriet Fitzpatrick thinks of Mr. Fitzpatrick as an ogre because he is a rash Irishman who is chasing her across the countryside.

Mr. Dowling: Mr. Dowling is a smart and sneaky lawyer who becomes Blifil’s friend.

Mrs. Miller: Mrs. Miller is a good friend of Tom’s and the best mother Nancy and Betty could ask for.

Nightingale: Even though Nightingale is a snobby city man, he has good qualities like loyalty and kindness, though not always when it comes to love.

Lord Fellamar: Lord Fellamar is a man who wants to marry Sophia. Even though he has a conscience, he is easy for Lady Bellaston to control.

Square: He lives with Allworthy. Square is a philosopher.

Thwackum: Thwackum is Blifil and Tom’s mean tutor. He always hits Tom and praises Blifil. Thwackum says he loves religion more than anything else, but he only cares about himself.

Molly Seagrim: Molly Seagrim is Black George’s tough, unfeminine daughter. She is the one who gets Tom to fall in love with her.

Black George: Tom’s favorite servant is Black George.

Nancy Miller: Mrs. Miller’s daughter, Nancy Miller, gets married to Nightingale.

Narrator: Since Fielding thinks back on how he made Tom Jones, it is likely that he is the ironic, annoying narrator.

Tom Jones Summary

The first part of “Tom Jones” summary

Squire Allworthy, a benevolent bachelor with a large estate in Somersetshire, discovers a newborn baby on his bed. He takes him into his care and names him Tom. Shortly after that, Allworthy’s sister marries the terrible Captain Blifil, and they have a son, Blifil junior. 

Tom and Blifil junior grow up together. Tom is bold, charming and always in trouble. Blifil is dull, dutiful and sly. By the age of 18, Tom is ‘one of the most handsome young fellows in the world.’ The owner of the neighboring estate, Squire Western, thinks him delightful. Western’s only child, Sophia, 17 and gorgeous, falls desperately in love with him. 

Tom, however, is cavorting (physical relation) with Molly Seagrim, a poor but pretty local lass who soon falls pregnant. Sophia’s beauty and loveliness are tempting, and Tom falls for her. He sets out to break the bad news to Molly and finds her in bed with someone else. He discovers he is not the father of her child; indeed, she’s rather generous with her favours. This frees him to love Sophia, but he has little hope of success with her. He is, after all, a common bastard, with neither title nor fortune. 

The second part of the summary Tom Jones

Tom and Sophia are deeply in love, despite their efforts to pretend otherwise. Sophia’s aunt separates. She has lost her heart but thinks Blifil causes her sighs. She informs Squire Western, who sees an opportunity to double the family fortune through marriage. Blifil recognizes the monetary advantage gained and immediately agrees to wed Sophia. It’s all arranged–poor Sophia knows nothing about it. 

Aunt Western triumphantly tells Sophia that she’s being married to her heart’s desire. Amazed and delighted, Sophia assumes her aunt is referring to Tom, provoking the family’s anger. Sophia pleads and weeps, but to no avail. The Westerns are so horrified at Sophia’s attraction to Tom that they decide she must marry Blifil immediately. 

When Squire Allworthy hears Tom has attraction on Sophia, he is distressed. Blifil, who has been plotting Tom’s downfall most of his life, seizes the opportunity to feed Allworthy deadly lies, successfully persuading his uncle to cast Tom out. Bereft and abandoned, Tom heads off into the countryside. The same night Sophia, doomed to marry Blifil in the morning, flees her family home and sets out for London.

The third part of the summary Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

Tom goes out into the country. He meets Partridge in Bristol, and Partridge becomes his loyal servant. When Tom saves Mrs. Waters from being robbed, they start having an affair at an inn nearby. Sophia ran away from Squire Western’s estate so she wouldn’t have to marry Blifil.

She stopped at this inn and found out that Tom was having an affair with Mrs. Waters. She leaves her muff on Tom’s bed so he knows she was there. When Tom finds the muff, he runs after Sophia as fast as he can. Fitzpatrick, an Irishman, comes to the inn looking for his wife, and Western comes looking for Sophia.

Sophia travels to London with Harriet, Fitzpatrick’s wife and her cousin. Sophia stays with her aunt, Lady Bellaston, in London. Soon after that, Tom and Partridge go to London, where they stay with Mrs. Miller and her daughters, one of whom is named Nancy. A young man named Nightingale also lives there, and Tom and Nancy fall in love quickly after that.

The fourth part of the summary Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

When Nancy gets pregnant, Tom talks Nightingale into getting married to her. Lady Bellaston and Tom start having an affair, but Tom is also secretly interested in Sophia. When he and Sophia get back together, Tom breaks up with Lady Bellaston by scaring her away with a marriage proposal. Lady Bellaston still doesn’t want Sophia and Tom to be happy together. She encourages another young man, Lord Fellamar, to rape Sophia.

Soon after, Squire Western, Mrs. Western, Blifil, and Allworthy arrive in London, and Squire Western locks Sophia in her room. Mr. Fitzpatrick thinks Tom is with his wife, so he challenges Tom to a fight. Tom uses the sword to stab Fitzpatrick, and he is put in jail to protect himself. Partridge visits Tom in jail with the ghastly news that Mrs. Waters is Jenny Jones, Tom’s mother.

Mrs. Waters meets Allworthy and tells him that Fitzpatrick is still alive and has admitted to starting the duel. She also tells Allworthy that a lawyer working for a man she doesn’t name tried to get her to work together against Tom. Allworthy finds out that Blifil is this man, and he decides to never talk to him again. But Tom feels sorry for Blifil and gives him a steady income.

The final part of the summary Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

Mrs. Waters also reveals that Tom’s mother was Bridget Allworthy. Square sends Allworthy a letter explaining that Tom’s conduct during Allworthy’s illness was honorable and compassionate. Tom gets out of jail, and he and Allworthy get to see each other again as uncle and nephew. Mrs. Miller tells Sophia why Tom asked Lady Bellaston to marry him, and Sophia is happy with the answer.

Now that Tom is Allworthy’s heir, Squire Western is very happy to see Tom and Sophia get married. Sophia punishes Tom for not being pure. However, she still agrees that Tom can marry her. They have two children and live happily on Western’s estate. They are kind and generous to everyone around them.

This is the end of our content Tom Jones Summary. Thank you for reading the content. Anyway, if you want to read more summaries from Restoration and Eighteenth Century Fiction, please check the following articles:

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