Tom Jones is the main protagonist of novel ‘Tom Jones’ by Henry Fielding, published on 28 February, 1749. Being a protagonist of the novel, he holds the interest of the readers right from his birth till he settled in life. He has been called an ‘unheroic’ hero by some critics in the sense that he lacks the qualities of great heroes of history.
As a matter of fact, modern realistic novel has altogether different concept of hero and heroics qualities than the conversational one Modern realistic novel takes its material from average human being. So, hero of a modern novel takes its material from average human being. So, hero of a modern novel can be a man from ordinary family but he does posses some extraordinary qualities, though not wholly a perfect character like the heroes of epics and romances but, he is a man of virtue and nobility.
Basically, Tom’s character stands out in the novel as one which is entirely ‘unformed’ he appears to be “a lump of clay” by nature, he is kind and generous but not as good as desirable in case. As we have stuck by Tom’s attitude towards women, he always treats women irrespectively of their social standing, as equal to men . His behavior towards women is not influenced by that exploitative attitude under which males manage the affairs of the society and women have to merely act as their “appendages”. Despite of such characterization by Fielding, he also compares Tom both with ‘Hercules’ (the strongest man in Greek mythology) and ‘Adnois’ (the most beautiful man in Greek mythology).
Therefore, Tom’s handsome face, appearance and Innocence become the source of all his troubles and misfortune. Also, as the matter of fact he holds some novel qualities which stands him higher than any common man. A sense of gratitude is deeply ingrained in his nature, though, he is not religious and pious in the usual sense of the term, yet he possesses the important Christian virtues of charity, compassion and forgiveness. However, Tom’s character lacks ‘prudence’ and shrewdness and hence, finds himself in trouble all the time, simply, he is frank and annoys others.
Tom instinctively feels that Blifil is a sneak ,a pious humbug and crook by nature Tom is open-minded fellow, who dislike his tutors for their hypocrisy and affections towards Mr. Blifil, they are actually biased as they always side Blifil. Hence, Tom is equally resentful to their action and defies them. Tom is considerate by nature too. He always takes Squire’s money to help countryside people. On the other side, he is able to win the heart of Sophia, when he saves her by hurting himself, during this period their relationship strengthened.
Therefore, all in all, Tom is the character who possesses many noble qualities, but he is not free from weakness. He is a lusty fellow and easily becomes victim of attractive women who try to seduce him. But it goes to his credit that in the face of heavy odds, he never loses his sense of generosity, and his mind is not disordered.
Eventually, his love for Sophia is genuine that redeems him. He even realizes that goodness and generosity alone are not sufficient, and one must learn to be prudent and also not to take people at their face value.
Important questions of Tom Jones
Que. what attitude towards marriage does Fielding illustrate in the novel Tom Jones?
Que. Examine the importance of the narrator in Tom Jones?
Que. what do you understand by the ‘typical’ and ‘individual’ character? Evaluate with the reference to Tom Jones.
Que. what do you understand by the phrase ‘fiction’ and ‘history’ in Tom Jones?
Que. Discuss the feminist concern in Tom Jones? Or Discuss the female representation of characters in Tom Jones.