The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

Tom Jones as a Study of Human Nature College

Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones, states in the Chapter 1 of Book 1, “…nor can the learned reader be ignorant, that in human nature, though here collected under one general name, is such prodigious variety, that a cook will have sooner gone through all the several species of animal and vegetable food in the world, than an author will be able to exhaust so extensive a subject.” Fielding, as a man of learning and of healthy acquaintance with eighteenth century London society, observes that while ‘Human Nature’ as a subject is well-used but never well-expressed. Thus, he tries to express the nature of the different characters in Tom Jones and through them, the temper and the sensibilities of the British Society. Also, this mode of representation is subjective to Fielding’s thought process as we can see through his of irony at different points in the story.

Fielding tends to ‘reveal’ a character instead of describing it. In this way, we learn about the character subjective to other people. The characters in the novel could be easily placed on a gradation scale. Some like Squire Allworthy and Sophia Western are virtuous and genteel, while some like young Blifil and Lady Bellaston are evil and spiteful, both kinds being on the...

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