Literature Study GuidesTom JonesBook 7 Chapters 6 10 Summary

Tom Jones | Study Guide

Henry Fielding

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Tom Jones | Book 7, Chapters 6–10 : Containing Three Days. | Summary

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Summary

Book 7, Chapter 6

Mrs. Western is prevailed upon to stay, and brother and sister now jointly decide to carry out the "war" against Sophia "in the most vigorous manner." Blifil realizes that Sophia hates him, and he now feels the same about her although he pretends otherwise. Nonetheless he considers Sophia to be "a most delicious morsel," and his desire is piqued by her aversion to him as well as by the idea that he will be besting Jones by "supplanting him in her affections." Of course he also likes her money. Mr. Allworthy has been assured by Western that Sophia "has proper affection for Blifil," and he confirms this without directly lying to his uncle. Therefore, Mr. Allworthy agrees to the hasty marriage.

Book 7, Chapter 7

Mrs. Honour, ever the servant with her ear to the ground, informs Sophia that the marriage is to take place the next morning. The crafty servant is a popular convention of stage comedies. Sophia determines to leave the house that night and asks her maid to accompany her, promising her a reward. She says she can go to London and stay with a distant relation, Lady Bellaston, who has previously invited her and will protect her from her father. Honour says she will get herself dismissed that afternoon.

Book 7, Chapter 8

Mrs. Honour is weighing the pros and cons of betraying Sophia to receive a reward from Western when fate intervenes to push her in the direction of affection for her mistress. She gets into a serious argument with Mrs. Western's maid and calls Mrs. Western an ugly old cat. When Mrs. Western hears this she goes in search of her brother to get Honour fired.

Book 7, Chapter 9

Honour packs her things and receives her wages, and she and Sophia arrange a meeting place. Both of Sophia's relatives shout at her, and she briefly considers going through with the marriage because of her love and respect for her father, but her competing love for Jones quickly extinguishes that idea.

Book 7, Chapter 10

This chapter turns to the adventures of Tom Jones on the road. Jones realizes that his guide does not know the way to Bristol, and a Quaker he encounters advises him to stay at a nearby inn. The landlord hears from the Quaker (who heard from the guide) that Tom is a "poor parish bastard" and won't give him a room, so he falls asleep in a chair in the parlor.

Analysis

Readers glimpse the depth of Blifil's depravity in Book 7, Chapter 6. Once he realizes that Sophia truly hates him, he feels pleasure in going through with the marriage so that he can force her to bend to his will, and her aversion arouses his sexual desire. The narrator says it "served to heighten the pleasure he proposed in rifling her charms, as it added triumph to lust." Partly he intends to avenge himself on her, and partly he seeks to triumph over Jones at last. His envy of his brother knows no bounds since Jones is superior to him in every way, which is why people love Jones and not him. Furthermore Blifil uses the piety he learned from Thwackum and the philosophy he learned from Square to convince Mr. Allworthy and Western that he loves Sophia and that she returns his affection. Thus he practices of the wrong kind of prudence.

Squire Western has all the evidence he needs to understand his daughter's true feelings, but he chooses to believe that Sophia, upon being forced into a second visit from Blifil, is simply showing a typical virgin's standoffishness when confronted with a suitor. He does know better, but he is pushing the match forward and urges Blifil to be aggressive. Certainly it is hard to understand how such a man can claim to love his daughter. Meanwhile Mr. Allworthy relinquishes responsibility, choosing to believe everything told to him by Blifil and the squire. Sophia feels the wolves circling and knows it is time to get out of town. The love she has for her father inspires her to consider making the great sacrifice of marrying Blifil for his sake, but she loves Jones too much to consider the idea for long.

Meanwhile Tom Jones's misfortune has followed him out of town, with an incompetent guide who doesn't know the way to Bristol and who then blabs his business to the innkeeper so that the innkeeper won't even rent him a room.

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