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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Three

Chapters 1 - 5

Summary

In Chapter One, Fielding describes the proper grief expressed by Mrs. Blifil for her dead husband. He then mentions a lapse of twelve years and takes the liberty of not describing this period.

In the second chapter, we are introduced to the protagonist at the age of fourteen. He is Tom and is described as a naughty lad, condemned by all for his wild behavior. Blifil, on the other hand is shown as pious, discreet and sober. Tom's childhood is a tumultuous one and he is convicted of three minor robberies. Tom's only friend among the servants is the gamekeeper along with whom he often goes after game. One day, when Tom is with this gamekeeper he springs a covey of partridges near the border of the manor. The neighbor is a man who dislikes hunting and Squire Allworthy gives instructions to his gamekeeper that he must never trespass. But, Tom persuades the gamekeeper to accompany him to the other side, in order to shoot the partridges. But, the neighboring gentleman hears the gun shot and catches Tom with the bird. He immediately complains to Squire Allworthy and the latter wants to find out the identity of the other man with Tom. But as Tom had promised the gamekeeper that he will not reveal his name, he keeps his promise. Allworthy is very angry with Tom but Tom sticks to his story. Tom and Blifilís tutor, Thwackum makes the most of this opportunity by beating Tom harshly. The Squire takes pity on this young child and forbids Thwackum from ever beating the child any more.

In the third chapter, the characters of Square and Thwackum are outlined and not in a very favorable light. They both have the responsibility of teaching Tom and Blifil. They both argue over the concept of true Honour till their conversation is put to an end by the good Squire.


In the fourth chapter, the debate between Square and Thawackum is ended by a quarrel between Tom Jones and Blifil. Tom hits Blifil for calling him a beggarly bastard. But, Blifil denies this and goes on to reveal Tom's secret: that the gamekeeper had accompanied Tom when they had crossed over the estate boundary. Tom pleads on the gamekeeper's behalf, saying that the latter had merely followed him, on his own insistence.

We learn in the fifth chapter that Tom is spared a solid thrashing. Both Square and Thwackum are united in their condemnation of Tom. They also applaud little Blifil. The gamekeeper is severely reprimanded by the Squire and removed from service. We also see that Thwackum and Square are both partial to Blifil as he wins them with flattery, compliance and due respect. Tom on the other hand shows no regard for them and their teaching. Not that the Squire is blind to the faults of Thwackum and Square, but he feels that with his own intervention he will prevent any real harm from befalling the two youngsters under their guidance.

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