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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Notes

The author is omniscient. He is also one who likes to discuss his art - that of writing. Fielding's masterpiece, 'Tom Jones' is rich because it is more than the history of a foundling. Fielding builds it in such a way that this novel adopts epic proportions. Not only are there many characters and events, Fielding often adds his own comments that add to the depth of this narration.

Once again, in the beginning of book 8, he writes about the supernatural element in any written work. The landlady had kept a distance from Tom so far. She finally visits him and goes on to say that she has met Sophia. Tom is told that Sophia had lain in the same bed, where he lay now. This makes Tom happy and fills his head with romantic thoughts. When he is filled with such sweet notions, his surgeon visits him. Tom is stubborn and does not want to be bled. The surgeon learns from the landlady that Tom is short of money.

This is true and in his anger with the surgeon, Tom does not pay him. Tom is definitely an impetuous and spontaneous young man. After sleeping for a long while, Tom feels much better and decides to get dressed. He calls for a barber. The barber knows Latin and gets along with Tom very well. The landlady in the meanwhile defames Tom in the kitchen. Tom was generally known as a bastard and now, after having been banished from Squire Allworthy's house, he is criticized even more. The barber too hears Tom's history in the gossip session at the inn.


Being of a friendly nature, Tom befriends the barber after taking a liking to him. He invites the barber for a drink after dinner. The barber is shrewd and he extracts Tom's entire history from him. We can see that the barber must be having a motive behind questioning Tom. We learn the barber's secret in the next chapter.

The next morning Tom is worried about the state of the wound on his head. So he talks to the drawer about it, the drawer suggests that the barber who had met Tom the previous day is an equally good surgeon. Tom is surprised but he calls him and discovers that he is indeed a skilled surgeon. He is indeed an extra ordinary man!

Now we learn the truth. This barber surgeon is in reality Partridge, the supposed father of Tom. But he tells Tom that he is not his father. He relates his unlucky past. He goes on to plead with Tom to allow him to travel with him. Tom displays his honesty once again when he tells him frankly that he has nothing to pay him. But, Partridge is convinced that Tom will be rich soon and in his predictions we see that he is right. Tom is too innocent to realize that Partridge is not accompanying him merely out of love.

Partridge is undertaking to go with Tom, with the hope that eventually he shall benefit a lot from Squire Allworthy. Partridge does not realize the depth of Squire Allworthy's anger at Tom. The two undertake to travel together. They make a Don Quixote and his squire sort of pair!

Soon they reach Gloucester and lodge at an inn. Mrs. Whitefield, the landlady is told many negative things about Tom and she consequently starts despising him. We see that Tom becomes an unfortunate victim of malicious gossip. He doesn't even realize that he is being criticized by many. Tom is strangely innocent many times. But he has a great degree of self respect and when he sees that Mrs. Whitefield despises him, he decides to leave the inn as soon as possible.

Later, Sophia shall pass through the very same route as she follows Tom. At the moment though things don't seem to be going well for Tom and fortune is not by his side. The tragedy of Tom is that his fortune depended on him being adopted by Squire Allworthy. Now that Squire Allworthy's aegis is not with Tom, the latter finds himself defamed as well as friendless.

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