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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Book 11

Chapters 1 - 5

Summary

The author starts off this book by explaining what exactly about 'criticism' he disliked. He cites examples of the kinds of criticism that he disdains.

In the second chapter, we join Sophia in her travels. She is pursued by a strange lady, later this lady with her little group joins Sophia. She turns out to be Sophia's cousin Harriet. The two young ladies rejoice on being united after a long period of time. They reach an inn together. The two ladies and their respective waiting women decide to have a nap. The landlord of that Inn is an inquisitive person, who is eager to know who Sophia & Harriet are and why they are travelling alone. The landlord after thinking over the matter comes to the conclusion that Sophia is Madam Jenny Cameron herself.

After arising from their sleep Sophia and Harriet decide to spend the evening in the Inn. Sophia impresses the landlady with her charms. Mrs. Fitzpatrick then relates her adventures and the incidents in her past to Sophia. She tells of her marriage to Mr. Fitzpatrick and her consequent unhappiness. In chapter five too, Mrs. Fitzpatrick (Harriet) continues with the relation of her history. The fifth chapter ends with Mrs. Fitzpatrick describing the awful period of her 'lying in', while in Ireland.


Notes

The author goes to great lengths to explain his point of view. He now explains why he disapproves of critical critics. The author is a learned man who is able to support his views with able examples and reasonable logic. What makes Fielding a great writer is his excellent understanding of human nature and his wide knowledge and in depth learning.

Sophia continues her travel along highways. A mysterious incident occurs. She is pursued by three horse riders who do not let go of their chase. They overtake her finally. The readers' curiosity and interest increases as to the identity of these mysterious followers. The lady turns out to be Harriet - a cousin of Sophia's. The two young ladies are very glad to see each other. In fact Harriet too had been at Upton Inn for some time. Mr. Fitzpatrick is her husband and on learning that he was looking for her, she manages to make her escape. Thus the Upton Inn threads continue in this book too.

The description of the two young ladies and their waiting women taking a nap is a quaint one. Fielding's sense of humor ranges from the subtle to the loud. His vivid range of writing helps him create epical scenarios.

The landlord of this Inn is shown to be an inquisitive man with great faith in his own worldly understanding. He cannot believe that Sophia is just another ordinary woman. He believes her to be the mistress of the rival general. He is sure that she is the beautiful Madam Jenny Cameron herself. Fielding brings in a little bit of history here by referring to the revolution and the war within England.

The two cousins are refreshed after their sleep. Both of them decide to share their experiences with each other. Mrs. Fitzpatrick relates her history here. This narration occupies the whole of the fourth and the fifth chapters. Sophia is completely engrossed in the tale and feels sad for the tragedies in Harriet's life.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick plays a crucial role in the narrative. It is she who later informs the elder Westerns where Sophia could be found. She is presented in contrast to Sophia. Both are pretty and young, but Sophia is much more scrupulous and principled compared to Harriet.

By including sub Themes and sub stories in this novel, Fielding succeeds in elevating the novel to an epical scale. All the varying views are ultimately joined to create an entertaining network of society and life.

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