full title Tom Jones
author Henry Fielding
type of work Novel
genre Epic comic romance; Bildungsroman
time and place written 1745, England
date of first publication 1749
publisher A. Millar, London
point of view The narrator predominantly speaks in the first person singular, but occasionally slips into a Victorian first person plural "we." The last quarter of the novel is partly epistolary, with letters embedded in the prose. The narrator is essentially omniscient and fluctuates between the minds of various characters.
tone The narrator's tone is constantly ironic. There has been much debate, however, about what kind of irony Fielding employs, and critics have coined various terms to describe the narrative tone, which is unique to Fielding.
setting (time) c. 1745
setting (place) England (mainly Somersetshire, Bristol, Upton, London)
protagonist Tom Jones
major conflict Tom Jones and Sophia Western cannot marry, since Tom is believed to be a foundling bastard and Sophia's father wishes her to marry someone of her own gentile class.
rising action Tom and Sophia fall in love, Allworthy banishes Tom, Sophia runs away from Squire Western to London, Tom has an affair with Lady Bellaston .
climax Tom is thrown into prison for "killing" Fitzpatrick in a duel.
falling action Tom's friends rally to reunite him with Sophia and clear his name, Blifil's deceit is discovered.
themes Virtue as action rather than thought, the impossibility of stereotypical categorization, the tension between Art and Artifice
motifs Food, travel, the law, the stage
symbols Sophia's muff
foreshadowing The narrator engages in constant self-conscious foreshadowing of the events of the upcoming chapter or book