Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Writing Style

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Writing Style

Rollicking, Abrupt

Yep, we said the writing style is rollicking. Think about a rollercoaster, slowly inching toward the top of the steepest drop. When you head over the edge, you're thrown around a little bit, but it's all in good fun. How does that play out in Fielding? Check out the scene where the hunting dogs tear off Parson Adams's wig and the group is thrown into chaos, for example: "[…] they began to pull him about; and had not the motion of his body had more effect on him than seemed to be wrought by the noise, they must certainly have tasted his flesh" (3.6.7). That rollicking pace is exactly what you can expect from Joseph Andrews.

But even as you're rushing along on this action-packed rollercoaster, you get jerked back and forth with a series of random events. Who'da thunk that the wig-stealing scene would end up with Adams and the crew going to dinner at the perpetrator's house? Or that Adams would be the butt of every single one of the squire's jokes?

In fact, when the story takes unexpected turns, the writing style becomes especially jerky and abrupt. Get a load of this example, when the group suddenly leaves the squire's house: "Adams and Joseph […] went out with their sticks in their hands; and carried off Fanny […]" (3.8.1). Where they'll go, nobody knows.

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