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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book Four

Chapters 1 - 7

Summary

In the first chapter, the author waxes eloquent on various styles of writing and intends to introduce the heroine Sophia with great pomp and show in the next chapter.

Sophia, Squire Western's daughter is introduced with much drama. She is a very beautiful person - outside as well as inside. Moreover, she had been educated by a learned aunt and was therefore perfectly well bred. The only thing that she might be lacking is a little ease in her behavior.

In the third chapter, the history goes back to view Blifil, Sophia and Tom, when they were kids. Since then, Sophia had developed affection for Tom and abhorrence for Blifil. A little childhood incident regarding a bird is recounted - Blifil frees a little bird that had been presented by Tom to Sophia. Sophia is very attached to this bird, so Tom tries to retain it, but falls into a canal instead. Blifil defends his action by saying that it was cruel to trap the bird and that is why he had freed it. The children are told to return home.

In the fourth chapter, Square and Thwackum congratulate Squire Allworthy for the exemplary behavior of Blifil with the bird. Squire Western though does not like what Blifil did as it disturbed the happiness of his child.

We are told more about Sophia's feelings towards Tom and Blifil. She grows to like the former more and despise the latter. She is absent for more than three years from the estate as she is with her Aunt, but she reappears again at her father's house, and is given much respect. While Sophia seems to be very fond of Tom, he admires and is nice to her, but there is no romantic particularity in his attention to her. One afternoon, Tom approaches Sophia and requests her to recommend Black George to her father. In return, Sophia asks him to be careful when he takes her father out on hunting expeditions. That evening, Sophia plays her father's favorite songs and convinces him to hire George, which he does. While Thwackum and Square are jealous of this hiring and of Tom, Squire Allworthy applauds the perseverance displayed by Tom for his friend George.


In this chapter which is the sixth, the romantic disposition of Tom is described. While he is not totally insensitive to Sophia's charms, he is attracted to Molly Seagrim, Black George's elder daughter. This young girl too likes Tom and encourages his passion. Tom mixes gratitude, sympathy and physical desire for her to culminate in the feeling of love. He feels responsible for her as she is poor and defenseless and because he makes love to such a soul.

In the seventh chapter, we read more about Molly. Sophia had given her a sack of a gown. When Molly bloats up with pregnancy, she wears this fashionable gown with much decoration to go to church on a Sunday. She believes she can conquer more hearts like this. The other villagers are envious of her appearance and a whisper runs through the whole congregation. They all sneer and laugh at her and Mr. Allworthy is obliged to exert authority to preserve decency amongst them.

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