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Tom Jones | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Epigraph The epigraph, or short inscription preceding the main text, reads Mores hominum multorum vidit, Latin for "He saw the cu... Read More
Dedication The novel is prefaced with a dedication to the Honorable George Lyttleton, Esquire. Henry Fielding credits Lyttleton wit... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 1–5 The narrator, who describes himself as author, is readily identifiable as Henry Fielding. He begins by announcing a "b... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 6–9 Mrs. Deborah (Mrs. Wilkins) takes to canvassing the village to uncover the guilty mother of the orphan child. The narr... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 10–13 The narrator remarks on Mr. Allworthy's hospitality, saying he shut neither his heart nor his house to "any part of ma... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 1–5 The narrator reminds the reader he is writing a history and not "a life," but he will not follow historians by relayin... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 6–9 Mrs. Wilkins returns and confirms the story that Partridge is Tom's father, but Mr. Allworthy sends for the "criminal"... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 1–5 Fielding gave Book 3 this title: "Containing the most memorable Transactions which passed in the Family of Mr. Allwort... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 6–10 The narrator notes with verbal irony (in which what is said is different than what is meant) that the two pedagogues l... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 1–5 Fielding begins Book 4 by making a lot of jokes about the ways in which authors and playwrights introduce heroes and h... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 6–10 Tom is not tempted by Sophia's wealth since he is not a greedy fortune hunter. He is aware of her beauty, but "his hea... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 11–14 Tom arrives home just as Molly is being hauled away to jail for her illegitimate pregnancy and for not naming the fath... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 1–4 The narrator pauses in this introductory chapter to Book 5 to justify his right to break the rules of the ancients in ... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 5–8 After Tom is allowed out of bed he visits Molly in her room above the stairs to propose a financial settlement in lieu... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 9–12 Tom has been keeping vigil at the bedside of his foster father and is overjoyed when he learns he is out of danger. He... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 1–5 The narrator pauses to give a discourse on love. He says "the desire of satisfying a voracious appetite with a certain... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 6–10 Sophia tells her maid Honour she must be married to a man she despises and hates. Honour takes Sophia's part, saying h... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 11–14 After dinner Mr. Allworthy speaks to Tom privately and lays his charges before him, and since Tom is sad he does not d... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 1–5 The narrator takes time to meditate on how the world is a stage, as has been pointed out by many writers. With regard ... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 6–10 Mrs. Western is prevailed upon to stay, and brother and sister now jointly decide to carry out the "war" against Sophi... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 11–15 The landlord is roused by a company of soldiers to whom he serves beer. The sergeant tells Tom they are going to fight... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 1–5 The narrator delivers a discourse on writing. First, he says that writers ought to stay within the boundaries of possi... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 6–10 Since the surgeon has abandoned him and he needs his wound dressed, Benjamin, who is also a surgeon, changes his banda... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 11–15 The "Man of the Hill" was born into a family of gentlemen farmers and was doing well at a university until he ran into... Read More
Book 9, Chapters 1–4 This introductory chapter is used by the author to disparage fellow writers who write "foolish novels and monstrous ro... Read More
Book 9, Chapters 5–7 While Tom is finally getting to eat after starving for a day, Mrs. Waters's mind turns to love. The narrator stops to ... Read More
Book 10, Chapters 1–5 The author addresses the reader as a friend and warns not to condemn a character as bad just because he or she is flaw... Read More
Book 10, Chapters 6–9 In the morning Tom calls for Partridge, who once again tries to keep him from going to war. Partridge next relates tha... Read More
Book 11, Chapters 1–5 The narrator returns to his critique of critics. The word critic is derived from the Greek and means "judgment," but t... Read More
Book 11, Chapters 6–10 The landlord now interrupts the women, bringing food, and addresses Sophia as if she were Jenny Cameron. He says she m... Read More
Book 12, Chapters 1–5 The author discusses on the meaning of plagiarism, addressing the "learned reader" who may have noticed he has been tr... Read More
Book 12, Chapters 6–10 Partridge prevails on Tom to stay overnight at the inn since they are not sure in which direction Sophia has gone and ... Read More
Book 12, Chapters 11–14 The guide admits they have missed the road to Coventry. Partridge, a superstitious man, fears they've been bewitched; ... Read More
Book 13, Chapters 1–4 Fielding begins with a mock-heroic invocation to a muse—calling her "the love of fame." He says, "Fill my ravished fan... Read More
Book 13, Chapters 5–8 When Jones returns to Mrs. Fitzpatrick's in the morning, he is told Sophia is not home, and he gets the same answer th... Read More
Book 13, Chapters 9–12 That evening Tom Jones meets Bellaston for another round of amorous shenanigans. After repeated "interviews" with Bell... Read More
Book 14, Chapters 1–5 The narrator complains English writers have failed to accurately portray the upper classes because they know nothing a... Read More
Book 14, Chapters 6–10 Late morning Tom awakens to another commotion. Mrs. Miller is beside herself because Nightingale has broken off his re... Read More
Book 15, Chapters 1–4 The author begs to differ "that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery." As Tom is virtuously wor... Read More
Book 15, Chapters 5–8 Sophia is reading a novel by herself in the evening, and Lord Fellamar suddenly comes in. He begins making passionate ... Read More
Book 15, Chapters 9–12 Tom arrives home to find three desperate letters from Lady Bellaston. Nightingale informs Tom he knows all about his a... Read More
Book 16, Chapters 1–5 The narrator takes time to abuse prologues, which are annoying to write and mostly are interchangeable with one anothe... Read More
Book 16, Chapters 6–10 Blifil is as eager as ever to marry Sophia. Besides greed, he is driven by hatred, an emotion he intends to satisfy on... Read More
Book 17, Chapters 1–5 The narrator notes his comedy has turned into a tragedy and he is still left with the task of delivering "this rogue, ... Read More
Book 17, Chapters 6–9 Sophia agrees to see Mrs. Miller. When her maid Betty leaves, Mrs. Miller tells her everything Tom has done for her fa... Read More
Book 18, Chapters 1–4 Fielding says goodbye to the reader, likening the time they have spent together to a journey on a stagecoach. At the e... Read More
Book 18, Chapters 5–8 Mrs. Miller tells Mr. Allworthy the so-called witnesses against Jones were employed by Lord Fellamar and were about to... Read More
Book 18, Chapters 9–12 Mr. Allworthy visits Sophia and tells her he has learned Blifil is a villain. He also says Tom is his nephew and asks ... Read More
Book 18, Chapter the last Old Nightingale reconciles with his son, and Uncle Nightingale reconciles with his daughter. Blifil gets £200 a year a... Read More
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