Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Violence

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For a comedic book, there's an awful lot of violence in Joseph Andrews. Between Parson Adams and his crabstick and Joseph and his cudgel, we wouldn't want to mess with this crew. While we'd like to see these dudes as the defenders of justice, Adams is often the one to throw the first punch. Like, does he really need to deck the grumpy innkeeper?

We could see this two ways. Either Adams harbors a lot of inner rage that he's letting out, or he really does believe in the principles he advocates. (Good thing he doesn't advocate for violence, right?) We're going with the second option. Usually, the fights Adams gets in have to do with sticking up for his friends or being slighted by someone rude. Surely, we can forgive him that much.

Questions About Violence

  1. When does Joseph engage in violence?
  2. Why does Parson Adams rely so heavily on his crabstick?
  3. Why are there three separate episodes of violence that directly concern Fanny?
  4. Who are more violent in this book: Joseph and his crew or the random strangers who accost them?

Chew on This

Joseph learns to strike first after being unexpectedly robbed his first day on the road.

Fanny never resorts to violence, but she does figure out strategies to protect herself.

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