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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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At the masquerade Tom meets a masked lady, who mentions the name 'Ms. Western'. Jones follows the lady only because he wants to know more about Sophia. He thinks that the lady is Mrs. Fitzpatrick. But he is soon proved wrong, the lady is in fact Lady Bellaston. She now proceeds to flirt with Tom. Throughout the novel women chase our hero Tom, we wonder why he cannot brush them off. This is the lesson that Tom has to learn before he can become worthy enough to marry Sophia.

The problem with Tom is that he is too generous to refuse the kindness of women. In being polite to them, he sometimes unknowingly starts a romantic affair. Lady Bellaston knows that Tom is without money and obliges him with her favors. Tom could be said to be actually kept by an elder lady. Even though our hero is noble, generous, gallant, straightforward, yet the reader has doubts as to his integrity. He could have refused to be under the heavy obligations of Lady Bellaston. We would have had more respect for Tom if he were able to maintain his independence. But, Fielding is not creating a unbelievably perfect hero. He creates a hero who has more chances of being real, than an imaginary paragon of virtue. In the eighth chapter, Tom meets the highwayman, whom he had forgiven on the highway to London. The highwayman is none other than Mrs. Millar's cousin. Tom wins yet another admirer. We see later that these friends stand by Tom in his time of need.


Jones continues to meet Lady Bellaston and she starts wooing him with love letters. It is not Tom who chases the elder lady, but the other way round. She seems to be a completely spoilt woman. We don't approve of her behavior.

Our dear lovers finally get to meet each other in chapter eleven. Sophia as usual is too delicate and cannot handle the excitement of being next to Tom. She is very angry with him for having insulted her and for having an affair with Mrs. Waters. But, despite all these complaints, Sophia is still in love with Tom. Lady Bellaston arrives at the tender scene where our lovers are having a re-union. She is very jealous to see Tom with Sophia. Tom is flabbergasted in Lady Bellastonís presence. He is scared of being exposed to Sophia. He does not want her to know that he has been having an affair with Lady Bellaston too. Sophia, for the matter is quite shrewd, she pretends that she does not know Tom and that he is there only to return to return her pocket book to her.

Sophia is not entirely innocent, she is a woman of the world. She pretends that Tom is a stranger to her. She tells Lady Bellaston that she would never get married contrary to her father's wishes. Lady Bellaston knows who Tom is but she, too puts on an act. The hypocrisy element is stronger in the cities, unlike the innocence of smaller towns and villages.

The reader is glad that Tom and Sophia have at least meet each other now. But the lovers never get much time together alone. We are curious to know what will happen next. Events are moving ahead and the novel seems to be working steadily towards the climax. The novel would have held no interest, if all these obstacles had not been placed between Sophia and Tom.

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