The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

Tom Jones and the Wisdom of Discernment College

Tom Jones is a comedic novel by Henry Fielding that relays moral messages in an entertaining format, often demonstrating the downfalls of making assumptions, and of not questioning someone else’s motives in certain situations. Tom himself repeatedly is lied to and lied about, and at the novel's beginning, and in Tom’s most youthful state, he often fell for these deceptions. Considering the novel a bildungsroman, Tom goes through the growing process of being deceived to mature into a wiser character who has a better understanding about misconceptions and how humans deceive to get ahead. Though Tom sometimes must learn these lessons the hard way, he ultimately ends the novel having developed wisdom and discernment that other characters always seem to lack. Through Tom’s discernment skills, Fielding encourages readers to develop their own critical thinking as not to fall prey to the schemes and misjudgments of other man.

Many adults that Tom encounters have also failed to develop skills in correctly judging another man’s motives, Benjamin Partridge included. Patridge is full of misconceptions, starting with the idea that Tom Jones is Squire Allworthy’s son. He furthers his error in believing that Tom ran away from Squire...

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