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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Notes

Fielding was definitely influenced by the classical strain. In the first chapter he invokes various muses in order to help him write. Fielding manages to personalize his writing by referring to it often. He does this mostly in the first chapters of new books, like he does in Book thirteen.

Partridge and Jones finally reach London in pursuit of Sophia, Tom must have loved her a great deal to be able to follow her so judiciously. He reaches the Lordships house. This is the same Lordship who had accompanied Sophia and Mrs. Fitzpatrick to London. But, Tom finds out that the ladies are not in this house. He now goes searching for Sophia all over London. He manages to reach Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s house. There is a misunderstanding here. Mrs. Fitzpatrick thinks that Squire Western, Sophia's father, has sent Tom. She therefore does not entertain his request for a meeting. Jones suspects that Sophia is within the house and doesn't want to meet him. Jones is truly desperate to see his beloved. The pragmatic reader might think that Tom deserves to suffer now, after having been disloyal to Sophia at Upton Inn.

Tom is very patient and keeps standing outside Mrs. Fitzpatrick's house. He is finally granted a meeting with the lady but she refuses to divulge Sophia’s whereabouts as she thinks he is the odious Blifil. Till now Mrs. Fitzpatrick thinks that she has been acting for the well being of Sophia. It is only after Tom leaves that Mrs. Fitzpatrick realizes that it was Tom and not Blifil. So far she had not known about Tom and Sophia's love. She learns of this from her waiting woman. She is adequately surprised at her cousin Sophia's secrecy.

In the Third chapter Mrs. Fitzpatrick meets Lady Bellaston. Her purpose is entirely selfish. As we have mentioned before, both Lord Fitzpatrick and his wife wish to reconcile themselves to Squire Western and Lady Western. Mrs. Fitzpatrick hopes to achieve this end by informing the elder Westerns about Sophia's whereabouts. Fielding has an excellent understanding of human nature and knows that most of the actions of humans are driven by selfish motives.


There are only a few characters in the novel who act unselfishly, among them are Tom, Mrs. Miller and to some extent Squire Allworthy. Sophia might be generous and charming but she is no less concerned about her own affairs.

When Lady Fitzpatrick goes to meet Lady Bellaston, we see that the latter is very curious about the personality of Tom. Tom's fame has already spread wide and far. People in London too have heard of his rakish reputation. Lady Bellaston is a middle-aged woman who is greatly attracted to young men. We can make out that Lady Bellaston is expressing a more than a normal curiosity regarding Tom. On learning that Tom is charming and handsome, she expresses a wish to see him. She is smart enough not to reveal her true intentions to Mrs. Fitzpatrick. She tells Mrs. Fitzpatrick that she wants to see Tom only because she can then recognize him and keep him away from innocent Sophia.

Tom visits Mrs. Fitzpatrick's house and it is here that Lady Bellaston sees him for the first time. Apart from the above three people, another Lady and yet another gentlemen are present. Fielding had promised to show us various kinds of human nature and he succeeds. In the first half of the novel, he had shown us the country way of life. Now, he represents the hypocrisy of society in cities. Tom is a stranger to the conversation that takes place in Mrs. Fitzpatrick's house.

Jones finds a lodge for himself in London. It belongs to a lady who is known to Squire Allworthy. Tom is once again the rescuer when he delivers a young gentleman from the blows of a servant. Tom thus makes one more friend and his name is Nightingale. Jones impresses Mrs. Miller - the lodge landlady, and her two young daughters. Tom is consistently portrayed as a likeable protagonist.

The next morning, Tom receives a mysterious package that includes an invitation to a masquerade. Fielding succeeds in adding intrigue and mystery at occasion. The reader too is curious as to who could have sent the invitation. We later learn that it is from none other than Lady Bellaston.

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