Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English. Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer with illustrations from the text of Tom Jones.

“Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English.” Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer with illustrations from the text of Tom Jones.

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling is a 1749 novel by Henry Fielding. It is his most famous work and was considered one of the greatest English novels ever written by subsequent authors like W. Somerset Maughan and Samuel Coleridge. It is divided into eighteen books and aims to explore human nature, covering a wide variety of social themes and literary styles.

The book opens by explaining Tom Jones’s origins. Squire Allworthy is a kind and noble man who one day comes home to Paradise Hall to find a baby on his bed, abandoned by his parents. He entrusts the child with his sister Bridget while they try to find out where the baby came from. Village gossip points to a woman called Jenny, so Allworthy brings her in for questioning.

Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English fiction. Isn't it amazing? This is substantially because he is not merely a keen observer of reality but also one who recognises and accepts people as they are. This means that he doesn't wish to impose his views on them. His moralist bias is expressed in terms of opinion and conv$tion but not in terms of representation in fiction. As we notice, he allows his characters to tread their own individual paths. For instance, if Fielding finds the women of his day indulging in sexual liberties recklessly, he would go critically into the larger phenomenon than say that the specific women be castigated and punished. Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English.

In fact, Fielding would have been harsh towards them if they went against spontaneous and uninhibited behaviour. This is the essence of Fielding's comic genius and realism.

“Fielding is one of the most pro-woman writers in English.” Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer with illustrations from the text of Tom Jones.



The term "socio-economic alliance" for marriage is a broad one. What actually comes into practice in marriage is the conduct-code. Under this code, particularly, the woman loses all identities as a human being - the specific name, the station, the right to decisionmaking, an activist pzkicipation in given situations, etc. Fielding has observed that the conduct-code of marriage suppresses women's spontaneity more than that of men -the difference can be seen in the example of Squire Western and his wife.

 The latter died early in life largely because she as a wife could see no scope of true relationship with her husband under what came to be a called a marriage. However, outside marriage women behave fieely to the extent of being aggressive. First, they do not merely 'flirt,' but actually seduce men and lead them straight to bed. If Squire Western is shown as a great hunter in the novel, Molly Seagrim has been shown no less as a fighter and marauder. Secondly, the philosopher spotted in Molly's bed by Tom arouses in us a sense of ridicule and disgust .-; his practice goes against his precept as he sheepishly reveals himself in a state of undress. Not Molly. In her case, it is raw sexuality.

 Though her own mother and sisters as well as the neighbourhood do not approve of her ways, Fielding is far from critical towards her. Another version of female sexuality - pleasure-giving and natural - is presented through Jenny Jones. Tom has also come of age by the time he meets her and we notice greater reciprocity between the two. What we scarcely notice, however, is that under Fielding's scheme, such reciprocity is not witnessed between partners in marriage.Talking of the women represented in Tom Jones, we can usefully focus on the institution of marriage.

Marriage, as Fielding sees it, is a socio-economic alliance between males &d females. Think how and why the two Blifil brothers scheme their mamiage with Miss Bridget Allworthy: Think bf Tom. His intimacy with Sophia would not get sanction because the marriage between the two would not qualify on socio-economic grounds.

Tom's Affinity with Women

Tom's own sexuality is equally uninhibited and pronounced. But we have to recognise that he shares this trait more with women than men. Firstly, he learnt about its existence fiom Molly, a woman conceived outside the family or marriage-mould. His sympathy and kindness towards all women has its source in his sense of gratefulness to both Molly and Jenny Jones, Tom has that softness, sentimentality and considerateness in his nature which women haye nurtured in him. No other male in Tom Jones is like Tom in this respect. We should also consider that no male, apart from Tom, has what can truly be called sexuality. In Mr. Allworthy, there is a great deal of intellectual toughness and stamina. He also has deep sentiments as we notice in the last book of the novel. But he is not the man to communicate with a woman on equal terms in a relationship. Squire Western has a passion only for hunting. Square and Thwackum are not capable of realising the true nature of sexuality. For Blifil, a woman is a mere object of sex. See the way he fantasises about Sophia in moments of solitude. Sophia appears to him in his dreams as someone' who has a body passively responding to male assault.



Pregnancy constitutes an important aspect of the narrative of Tom Jones. Pregnancy also affects the lives of women alone - there is no social arrangement that ensures protection and help to pregnant women. It's a different matter that we do not easily notice the hardship caused to women in this respect.

 If a society were properly organised, the fact of pregnancy would expect both men and women to carry the burden together. Instead, the society in Tom Jones subjects women caught in the pregnancy trap to untold miseries and sufferings. In fact, pregnancy becomes an instrument in the hands of the eighteenth century society to subjugate women. When we read Tom Jones, we find that Fielding uses pregnancy as a literary device to bring out the social helplessness of women belonging to the different strata.


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