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MonkeyNotes-Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
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Minor Characters

Mrs. Fitzpatrick's story

Mrs. Fitzpatrick is Sophia's cousin and her story may be considered a minor theme in the novel. She too has to run away from a tyrant husband but the manner in which she deals with her circumstances can be contrasted with the quiet maturity that belongs to Sophia. Mrs. Fitzpatrick travels with Sophia to London but here they part their ways. While Sophia seeks the protection of a lady, Mrs. Fitzpatrick finds her shelter in a man. And suspicions are raised as to the relation of Mrs. Fitzpatrick with this man. While her husband, who is an Irishman is definitely not worth emulating; Mrs. Fitzpatrick herself has no scruples of having an affair with another man. She is desperate to defend herself in a world that condemns her for leaving her husband.

While she is not villainous by nature her self-control is lesser than that of her cousin Sophia's. Her Fate is compared with her cousin's to form a minor theme in the novel. While many small incidents are scattered throughout the panoramic novel, this is one incident that is paid special attention to. This is the reason Mrs. Fitzpatrick's story occupies spatial, as well as emotional space in the narrative. The space occupied is spatial in the sense that it occupies a considerable number, of chapters; and it is emotional in that Mrs. Fitzpatrick's story our emotional interest. We tend to compare her reactions and behavior with that of Sophia Western. Her modesty and chastity are found wanting in comparison to the lovely, virgin like Sophia.


Mr. Square and Mr. Thwackum's hypocrisy

Mrs. Thwackum was the person to whom Mr. Allworthy had committed the instruction of the two boys - Blifil and Tom. Mr. Thwackum was fond of Blifil, but not Tom. Tom was frank, open and did not try and flatter his tutor. Blifil perfected the art of flattery, while Mr. Thwackum claimed to be a scrupulous and high-minded scholar he was nothing but a measly hypocrite. This hypocrisy is further exposed towards the end of the novel.

Mr. Square too resided at Mr. Allworthy's house and he too was charged with the responsibility of Tom as well as Blifil's education. He was deeply read in the ancients, upon whose model he formed his own personality. Square held human nature to be the perfection of all virtue and that vice was a deviation from our nature in the same manner as deformity of body is. Thwackum of the contrary maintained that the human mind since the Fall was nothing but a sink of inquity, till purified and redeemed by grace. The favorite phrase of Square was the natural beauty of virtue and of Thwackum - the divine power of grace. So the both claimed that they were superior men while in reality, neither bad the courage or conviction to actually follow what they preached.

The both can be considered as foils to Tom's spontaneity while they emphasized intellect; they suppressed their natural emotions. This repression did not stand them in good stead and later Square was discovered in bed with Molly Seagrim. Through both these characters. Fielding demonstrates the negative effects of extraordinary emphasis on intellect alone. When more so the proclaimed intellect was found to be hypocritical and selfish.

By contrast Tom is full blooded spontaneous and definitely more worthy. Square and Thwackum together represent what is best discarded in man and that is - a false sense of superiority a misplaced sense of honor and underlying cruelty of character.

Both Square and Thwackum are given adequate spatial space at the beginning of the narrative and some more towards the end.

The question of Tom's parentage

The story behind Tomb's birth is a minor theme in the novel. At the very starting of the novel various conjunctures are made as to the identity of Tom's parents. It is concluded by all that Jenny Jones and Partridge are the guilty ones. But as we learn they are not the true parents of Tom. The reality when it is finally exposed leaves every one shocked and reeling. This can be considered as a minor theme of the novel because of two reasons. Firstly, it is a matter and affects impact on the story and affects many concerned. Secondly, it is a question that is carried forth through the novel and is finally answered at the very end. The very existence of the protagonist. Tom Jones depends on who his parents are. It is when we learn who his parents really are, that several things fall in place. It is then that we are able to look back into the pact and understand why particular characters behaved the away they did.

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