Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Appearances

By Henry Fielding

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Joseph's face could launch a thousand ships… Wait, that's not how that goes. But seriously, Joseph is a handsome guy who attracts ladies right and left. A major plot point has to do with his obliviousness to female attention, largely a result of that gorgeous mug. What's a male model-lookalike to do?

Like Fanny, Joseph isn't aware of how attractive he is—and that could be one thing that makes him even more attractive to the ladies. Think of it this way: since Joe doesn't know how handsome he is, he's free to dwell on the stuff that matters, like developing his inner self and, you know, memorizing Parson Adams's copy of Aeschylus. Everyone else is free to stare at his pretty face.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Why make a point of describing Fanny's smallpox-marked face?
  2. What about Joseph's appearance attracts all the ladies? Should this even matter?
  3. Does Parson Adams's ridiculous appearance prevent him from getting respect?
  4. Does Fanny make more of an impression, in terms of appearance, than Joseph?

Chew on This

Joseph's utter lack of interest in his own appearance means he can't detect the one thing that could improve his life: that strawberry-shaped birthmark.

Both Joseph and Fanny experience many difficulties because of their attractive faces.

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