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A STEP BEYOND
TESTS AND ANSWERS
_____ 1. According to the narrator, marriages usually provide two kinds of pleasures:
B. romance and a family
C. pleasing someone you love and tormenting someone you hate
B. came to prefer her to his hunting dogs
C. wanted to keep her for himself
B. Mrs. Bridget's son, and so Blifil's half-brother
C. Allworthy's nephew, but not related to Blifil
B. Mrs. Waters and her maid
C. Mrs. Fitzpatrick and her maid
B. Mrs. Fitzpatrick
C. Lady Bellaston
B. sorrow, and she expresses Fielding's sense of sadness
C. softness, and she provides a tribute to Fielding's sister
B. French, demonstrating Fielding's hatred of the French
C. Spanish, demonstrating Fielding's admiration of Cervantes' Don Quixote
B. three- England, France, and Spain
C. three- The Country, The Road, and London
B. dismisses Mrs. Honour from her staff
C. hires Mrs. Honour as a maid
B. a great novel, but a practice ground for his real masterpiece, Joseph Andrews
C. Henry Fielding's masterpiece
11. What role do jealousy, spite, and revenge play in Tom Jones?
12. Discuss the theme of the hunt in Tom Jones.
13. Discuss two examples of symmetry and balance in Tom Jones.
_____ 1. Sophia doesn't want to marry Blifil because, as she says,
B. "He's too prissy, and my father doesn't like him"
C. "Why, why would you marry an Irishman?"
II. mark the place where Sophia's pursuit of Tom shifts, so that Tom pursues Sophia
III. have the theatrical quality of a farce
B. I and II only
C. I, II, and III
B. of the usual hatred between aunts and nieces
C. Mrs. Fitzpatrick helped Sophia escape from the Western estate
B. he's infatuated with her and driven by desire
C. he ardently admires Squire Western
II. satirized Richardson's writing in his novels
III. and Richardson are generally considered the founders of the English novel
B. II and III only
C. I only
B. proposing marriage
C. having an affair with Mrs. Fitzpatrick
B. comic and ironic
C. awkward but quite moving
B. Mrs. Waters is an old flame of Partridge
C. Tom is Allworthy's nephew
B. particularly descriptive writing
C. Fielding's sense of irony
B. a highway robber
C. a fox hunt
11. Do you think Squire Western and Sophia love each other? Cite evidence for your opinion.
12. Discuss the role of servants in the novel.
13. Explore the way Fielding parallels the Bible in Tom Jones.
11. These closely related motivations dominate much of the novel. For example, jealousy for Sophia's love of Tom makes Blifil release the bird Tom gave her. Later, when Sophia rejects him, Blifil determines to marry her anyway- as much out of a desire for revenge as out of greed for the Western estate.
Lady Bellaston is another example of a character driven mainly by jealousy and revenge. Out of jealousy for Sophia, she engineers a plan for Lord Fellamar to abduct the girl. Because she wants revenge for Tom's rejection of her, she devises a scheme for Lord Fellamar's gang to abduct him.
You could also cite the jealousy and spite frequently felt by the servants in Tom Jones toward their masters, and the way they take their revenge on those above them by abusing those below them. Allworthy's servant, Mrs. Deborah, is a good example. She must take abuse from Miss Bridget; in turn she abuses the townspeople.
By emphasizing these unpleasant motivations, Fielding may seem to be taking a very cynical view of human weaknesses. But in some ways, Fielding takes a very optimistic view. The triumphs of the jealous characters are never permanent: Blifil and Lady Bellaston, for example, are thoroughly defeated at the book's end. The characters who do ultimately triumph- Sophia and Tom- are notable for their generosity, which is in the end justly rewarded.
12. The English sport of hunting provides one of the major themes of the novel. Fielding presents the spectacle of people being driven by instincts, drives, and passions to pursue others. Much of the novel is a series of pursuits and flights.
Through the first half of the book, Sophia pursues Tom; through the second half, Tom pursues Sophia. Western spends most of his time hunting. When he finds Sophia gone, he sets out to hunt her down. Fielding wryly comments on the similarity of these two pursuits. When Western comes upon a fox hunt, he happily chases after the fox instead of Sophia. Similarly, Fitzpatrick is hunting his wife, who's fleeing him.
Fielding complicates the metaphor into a breathless pattern of flights and chases. Sometimes the hunter is also the hunted: Sophia flees her father and pursues Tom. Sometimes the hunter pursues one prey, only to find others: Western, pursuing Sophia, finds Tom and a fox. Sometimes a hunter arrives just as another has trapped the same prey: Western finds Sophia as Lord Fellamar is abducting her. You can cite many other examples in the novel.
13. The novel offers many examples of symmetry and balance. For example, Fielding provides a balance between Tom and Sophia's relatives. Tom is raised by his uncle, Squire Allworthy, who serves as his surrogate father, and by his mother Mrs. Bridget. Similarly, Sophia is raised by her aunt, Mrs. Western, who serves as her surrogate mother, and by her father, Squire Western. Sophia resembles Allworthy: they are kind, gentle, wise, and they love Tom. Tom resembles Western: they have tempers, hunt together, and love Sophia.
Another example is the symmetrical way letters advance the plot. Mrs. Fitzpatrick betrays Sophia by sending Mrs. Western Sophia's address. Similarly, Mrs. Western betrays Mrs. Fitzpatrick by sending Mr. Fitzpatrick his wife's address.
You could also mention the way Lady Bellaston takes revenge on Sophia by arranging for Lord Fellamar to abduct her, and on Tom by arranging for Lord Fellamar's gang to abduct him. Similarly balanced are Blifil and Lady Bellaston's motives for encouraging Blifil's marriage with Sophia: Blifil is jealous of Tom and seeks revenge on Sophia for rejecting him; Lady Bellaston is jealous of Sophia and seeks revenge on Tom for rejecting her. In addition, Lady Bellaston hides behind the curtain when Mrs. Honour visits Tom, and Mrs. Honour hides behind the curtain when Lady Bellaston visits Tom.
11. Fielding presents many examples of Sophia's love for Squire Western. She plays him his favorite tunes each evening. She hunts with him even though she doesn't like the sport. Perhaps the greatest proof of her love is her resolve not to love Tom Jones because she knows that would displease her father. Yet eventually, Sophia is willing to risk her father's anger by running away- an act that might convince him that she doesn't love him. If love means complete obedience, then you could argue that Sophia doesn't love her father- at least not as much as she loves Tom.
Fielding presents as many examples of Western's devotion to Sophia. As a favor to Sophia, Western hires Black George, even though George poached on his lands. He gives her all the money and clothes she could want. He even prefers her to his hunting dogs.
But Western's love is also possessive and destructive, and it's limited by his greed. He's willing to make Sophia unhappy by marrying her to Blifil. The narrator comments that except for what involves her greatest happiness, Western would give Sophia anything. In a sense that means he would give her nothing at all.
12. Servants come from the lower class and are supposedly less important than the upper classes they serve. But one of the ironies of Tom Jones is that they often play important roles in the lives of their masters, and thus in the novel's plot.
For example, Jenny Jones, a servant to Mr. Partridge, helps initiate the plot of the novel by leaving Tom on Allworthy's bed, then later claims that she is Tom's mother. Another servant, Mrs. Deborah, furthers the story by locating Tom's "mother" and "father," Jenny Jones and Partridge, and having them sent away from Somersetshire.
Because the maids and servants get along better with each other than do their masters, the masters often use them as spies. For example, Mrs. Fitzpatrick learns about Tom not from Sophia, but from her maid, who is a friend of Sophia's maid. Lady Bellaston has also heard about Tom, from her maid, whose intriguing descriptions make her want to meet him at the masquerade. This network of lower-class spies helps the upper classes maintain their facade of refinement.
13. Throughout Tom Jones, Fielding refers to biblical stories to add meaning and resonance to his novel. The basic plot- a young man ventures into the world, lives wildly, returns and is reconciled with his guardian- is strongly reminiscent of the tale of the Prodigal Son in the New Testament book of Luke. More obvious and more elaborate is the parallel between Tom and Sophia, and Adam and Eve. Like Adam, Tom is in some ways a sinner; these sins drive him from God's Eden, Allworthy's estate. Fielding underscores the parallel in a number of ways. Allworthy's wisdom and charity, indicated by his name, make him a God-like figure. His mansion is named Paradise Hall. As Tom leaves, Fielding refers to Milton's epic poem of Adam's fall, Paradise Lost.
As Tom matures, Fielding's biblical references are more favorable to his hero. To Fielding, charity was among the highest Christian virtues. When Tom gives money to the man he thought was about to rob him and leave him by the side of the road, he displays that virtue amply. The theme of charity and the roadside setting parallel this episode to the story of the Good Samaritan, also told in Luke.
TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING
© Copyright 1986 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.