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Tom Jones
Henry Fielding




_____ 1. According to the narrator, marriages usually provide two kinds of pleasures:

    A. dining out and eating at home
    B. romance and a family
    C. pleasing someone you love and tormenting someone you hate
_____ 2. Squire Western loved Sophia so much that he
    A. wanted her to marry only someone she loved
    B. came to prefer her to his hunting dogs
    C. wanted to keep her for himself
_____ 3. Mrs. Waters tells Allworthy that Tom Jones is
    A. her son, and so Blifil's cousin
    B. Mrs. Bridget's son, and so Blifil's half-brother
    C. Allworthy's nephew, but not related to Blifil
_____ 4. The lady and her maid who first arrives at Upton Inn are
    A. Sophia and her maid
    B. Mrs. Waters and her maid
    C. Mrs. Fitzpatrick and her maid
_____ 5. The lady in the domino costume is
    A. Mrs. Waters
    B. Mrs. Fitzpatrick
    C. Lady Bellaston
_____ 6. Sophia's name means
    A. wisdom, and she represents wisdom in Tom Jones
    B. sorrow, and she expresses Fielding's sense of sadness
    C. softness, and she provides a tribute to Fielding's sister
_____ 7. Partridge is particularly adept at
    A. Latin, demonstrating Fielding's familiarity with classical authors
    B. French, demonstrating Fielding's hatred of the French
    C. Spanish, demonstrating Fielding's admiration of Cervantes' Don Quixote
_____ 8. How many sections is Tom Jones divided into?
    A. four- Love, Travel, War, and Home
    B. three- England, France, and Spain
    C. three- The Country, The Road, and London
_____ 9. After Lady Bellaston finds Mrs. Honour behind the curtain, she
    A. has Squire Western fire Mrs. Honour
    B. dismisses Mrs. Honour from her staff
    C. hires Mrs. Honour as a maid
_____ 10. Tom Jones is generally considered
    A. inferior to Fielding's writing for the theater
    B. a great novel, but a practice ground for his real masterpiece, Joseph Andrews
    C. Henry Fielding's masterpiece

11. What role do jealousy, spite, and revenge play in Tom Jones?

12. Discuss the theme of the hunt in Tom Jones.

13. Discuss two examples of symmetry and balance in Tom Jones.


_____ 1. Sophia doesn't want to marry Blifil because, as she says,

    A. "I hate him"
    B. "He's too prissy, and my father doesn't like him"
    C. "Why, why would you marry an Irishman?"
_____ 2. The Upton Inn chapters
    I. occur in the exact middle of the novel
    II. mark the place where Sophia's pursuit of Tom shifts, so that Tom pursues Sophia
    III. have the theatrical quality of a farce
    A. I only
    B. I and II only
    C. I, II, and III
_____ 3. Mrs. Western hates Mrs. Fitzpatrick because
    A. Fitzpatrick married Harriet instead of Mrs. Western
    B. of the usual hatred between aunts and nieces
    C. Mrs. Fitzpatrick helped Sophia escape from the Western estate
_____ 4. Blifil wants to marry Sophia because
    A. he wants the Western estate and revenge for her rejection of him
    B. he's infatuated with her and driven by desire
    C. he ardently admires Squire Western
_____ 5. Henry Fielding
    I. read Richardson's novel Pamela, and liked the book so much he wrote a novel himself
    II. satirized Richardson's writing in his novels
    III. and Richardson are generally considered the founders of the English novel
    A. I and III only
    B. II and III only
    C. I only
_____ 6. Nightingale suggests Tom end his affair with Lady Bellaston by
    A. insulting her in front of other aristocratic ladies
    B. proposing marriage
    C. having an affair with Mrs. Fitzpatrick
_____ 7. The style of Tom Jones can best be described as
    A. grand and majestic in tone
    B. comic and ironic
    C. awkward but quite moving
_____ 8. When Partridge recognizes Mrs. Waters, he tells Tom that
    A. Tom has slept with his mother
    B. Mrs. Waters is an old flame of Partridge
    C. Tom is Allworthy's nephew
_____ 9. Picaresque is a term used to describe
    A. stories of travel, relating the protagonist's adventures along the route of his journey
    B. particularly descriptive writing
    C. Fielding's sense of irony
_____ 10. Squire Western becomes distracted from his pursuit of Sophia by
    A. the attractiveness of a lady innkeeper
    B. a highway robber
    C. a fox hunt

11. Do you think Squire Western and Sophia love each other? Cite evidence for your opinion.

12. Discuss the role of servants in the novel.

13. Explore the way Fielding parallels the Bible in Tom Jones.


  1. C
  2. B
  3. B
  4. C
  5. C
  6. A
  7. A
  8. C
  9. C
  10. C

11. These closely related motivations dominate much of the novel. For example, jealousy for Sophia's love of Tom makes Blifil release the bird Tom gave her. Later, when Sophia rejects him, Blifil determines to marry her anyway- as much out of a desire for revenge as out of greed for the Western estate.

Lady Bellaston is another example of a character driven mainly by jealousy and revenge. Out of jealousy for Sophia, she engineers a plan for Lord Fellamar to abduct the girl. Because she wants revenge for Tom's rejection of her, she devises a scheme for Lord Fellamar's gang to abduct him.

You could also cite the jealousy and spite frequently felt by the servants in Tom Jones toward their masters, and the way they take their revenge on those above them by abusing those below them. Allworthy's servant, Mrs. Deborah, is a good example. She must take abuse from Miss Bridget; in turn she abuses the townspeople.

By emphasizing these unpleasant motivations, Fielding may seem to be taking a very cynical view of human weaknesses. But in some ways, Fielding takes a very optimistic view. The triumphs of the jealous characters are never permanent: Blifil and Lady Bellaston, for example, are thoroughly defeated at the book's end. The characters who do ultimately triumph- Sophia and Tom- are notable for their generosity, which is in the end justly rewarded.

12. The English sport of hunting provides one of the major themes of the novel. Fielding presents the spectacle of people being driven by instincts, drives, and passions to pursue others. Much of the novel is a series of pursuits and flights.

Through the first half of the book, Sophia pursues Tom; through the second half, Tom pursues Sophia. Western spends most of his time hunting. When he finds Sophia gone, he sets out to hunt her down. Fielding wryly comments on the similarity of these two pursuits. When Western comes upon a fox hunt, he happily chases after the fox instead of Sophia. Similarly, Fitzpatrick is hunting his wife, who's fleeing him.

Fielding complicates the metaphor into a breathless pattern of flights and chases. Sometimes the hunter is also the hunted: Sophia flees her father and pursues Tom. Sometimes the hunter pursues one prey, only to find others: Western, pursuing Sophia, finds Tom and a fox. Sometimes a hunter arrives just as another has trapped the same prey: Western finds Sophia as Lord Fellamar is abducting her. You can cite many other examples in the novel.

13. The novel offers many examples of symmetry and balance. For example, Fielding provides a balance between Tom and Sophia's relatives. Tom is raised by his uncle, Squire Allworthy, who serves as his surrogate father, and by his mother Mrs. Bridget. Similarly, Sophia is raised by her aunt, Mrs. Western, who serves as her surrogate mother, and by her father, Squire Western. Sophia resembles Allworthy: they are kind, gentle, wise, and they love Tom. Tom resembles Western: they have tempers, hunt together, and love Sophia.

Another example is the symmetrical way letters advance the plot. Mrs. Fitzpatrick betrays Sophia by sending Mrs. Western Sophia's address. Similarly, Mrs. Western betrays Mrs. Fitzpatrick by sending Mr. Fitzpatrick his wife's address.

You could also mention the way Lady Bellaston takes revenge on Sophia by arranging for Lord Fellamar to abduct her, and on Tom by arranging for Lord Fellamar's gang to abduct him. Similarly balanced are Blifil and Lady Bellaston's motives for encouraging Blifil's marriage with Sophia: Blifil is jealous of Tom and seeks revenge on Sophia for rejecting him; Lady Bellaston is jealous of Sophia and seeks revenge on Tom for rejecting her. In addition, Lady Bellaston hides behind the curtain when Mrs. Honour visits Tom, and Mrs. Honour hides behind the curtain when Lady Bellaston visits Tom.


  1. A
  2. C
  3. A
  4. A
  5. B
  6. B
  7. B
  8. A
  9. A
  10. C

11. Fielding presents many examples of Sophia's love for Squire Western. She plays him his favorite tunes each evening. She hunts with him even though she doesn't like the sport. Perhaps the greatest proof of her love is her resolve not to love Tom Jones because she knows that would displease her father. Yet eventually, Sophia is willing to risk her father's anger by running away- an act that might convince him that she doesn't love him. If love means complete obedience, then you could argue that Sophia doesn't love her father- at least not as much as she loves Tom.

Fielding presents as many examples of Western's devotion to Sophia. As a favor to Sophia, Western hires Black George, even though George poached on his lands. He gives her all the money and clothes she could want. He even prefers her to his hunting dogs.

But Western's love is also possessive and destructive, and it's limited by his greed. He's willing to make Sophia unhappy by marrying her to Blifil. The narrator comments that except for what involves her greatest happiness, Western would give Sophia anything. In a sense that means he would give her nothing at all.

12. Servants come from the lower class and are supposedly less important than the upper classes they serve. But one of the ironies of Tom Jones is that they often play important roles in the lives of their masters, and thus in the novel's plot.

For example, Jenny Jones, a servant to Mr. Partridge, helps initiate the plot of the novel by leaving Tom on Allworthy's bed, then later claims that she is Tom's mother. Another servant, Mrs. Deborah, furthers the story by locating Tom's "mother" and "father," Jenny Jones and Partridge, and having them sent away from Somersetshire.

Because the maids and servants get along better with each other than do their masters, the masters often use them as spies. For example, Mrs. Fitzpatrick learns about Tom not from Sophia, but from her maid, who is a friend of Sophia's maid. Lady Bellaston has also heard about Tom, from her maid, whose intriguing descriptions make her want to meet him at the masquerade. This network of lower-class spies helps the upper classes maintain their facade of refinement.

13. Throughout Tom Jones, Fielding refers to biblical stories to add meaning and resonance to his novel. The basic plot- a young man ventures into the world, lives wildly, returns and is reconciled with his guardian- is strongly reminiscent of the tale of the Prodigal Son in the New Testament book of Luke. More obvious and more elaborate is the parallel between Tom and Sophia, and Adam and Eve. Like Adam, Tom is in some ways a sinner; these sins drive him from God's Eden, Allworthy's estate. Fielding underscores the parallel in a number of ways. Allworthy's wisdom and charity, indicated by his name, make him a God-like figure. His mansion is named Paradise Hall. As Tom leaves, Fielding refers to Milton's epic poem of Adam's fall, Paradise Lost.

As Tom matures, Fielding's biblical references are more favorable to his hero. To Fielding, charity was among the highest Christian virtues. When Tom gives money to the man he thought was about to rob him and leave him by the side of the road, he displays that virtue amply. The theme of charity and the roadside setting parallel this episode to the story of the Good Samaritan, also told in Luke.

[Tom Jones Contents]


    1. Compare Sophia in Tom Jones with Amelia in Amelia.
    2. Explore the similarities and difference between Fielding's two great novels, Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews.
    1. Contrast the styles of Fielding and Samuel Richardson, explore their rivalry, and elaborate on their contributions to the novel.
    2. Compare Tom Jones and Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote by exploring their versions of the picaresque tale and by comparing Partridge to Sancho Panza.
    3. Contrast the relation of marriage and class in Tom Jones and in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
    1. Discuss Fielding's use of irony in Tom Jones, particularly emphasizing dramatic irony in the novel.
    2. Discuss the function of the narrator in Tom Jones. Is he superfluous to the story? Do his comments detract from your "willing suspension of disbelief" or add to the novel? How does his relationship with the reader contribute to the book?
    3. When does the point of view change in the novel? How does Fielding employ the Unreliable Narrator in the novel, and what function does this narrative technique serve?
    4. Fielding uses many different styles of writing in Tom Jones. When does the style change and why?
    5. Fielding called his version of the novel "a comic epic poem in prose." How does Tom Jones resemble an epic? How does his comic epic differ from the conventional epic?
    6. In what ways is Tom Jones an allegory?
    7. Tom Jones has often been praised for the cleverness of the plot. The plot has also been criticized for dominating the novel and for being too contrived. Is emotional involvement sacrificed to the plot? Does plotting dominate the book too greatly? Does the plot seem too contrived?
    8. What is the point of the Man of the Hill's story in the context of the novel? In terms of plot and theme? Does this interpolated narrative help heighten the novel or merely slow it down?
    1. Explain how Fielding uses a dramatic structure in the plotting of the novel.
    2. Elaborate on the theatrical theme of the novel.
    1. Fielding compares the narrator to God, and the novel to his world. Does he portray this world as balanced and ordered, or as arbitrary and filled with coincidence? Explain.
    2. Explore the theme of charity in the novel. How does Fielding portray generosity in Tom Jones, and how does he emphasize this theme by contrast?
    1. Are Sophia and Allworthy realistic characters or idealized types?
    2. Discuss Sophia as an emblem of wisdom in the novel.
    3. Explore the various ways in which Blifil serves as a foil to Tom Jones.
    4. Explore the ways in which Mrs. Fitzpatrick serves as a foil to Sophia.
    5. Compare and contrast Squire Allworthy and Squire Western. How do they serve as surrogate fathers to Tom? What other thematic functions do they serve in the novel?
    6. Compare characters from different levels of society in Tom Jones. For example, compare a lady with her maid.

THE STORY, continued

ECC [Tom Jones Contents] []

© Copyright 1986 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
Further distribution without the written consent of, Inc. is prohibited.

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