Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 1, Chapter 7

By Henry Fielding

Book 1, Chapter 7

Containing Such Grave Matter, that the Reader Cannot Laugh Once Through the Whole Chapter, Unless Peradventure He Should Laugh at the Author

  • Squire Allworthy sits Jenny Jones down and starts lecturing her about her sins.
  • He's not mad that Jenny left the baby to him to raise.
  • In fact, Squire Allworthy thinks that's a good sign that Jenny wants what's best for her child.
  • But he does scold her for having sex before marriage.
  • Squire Allworthy reminds her that what she has done is a sin according to strict Christian faith.
  • Also, sex before marriage had terrible social consequences back in the day.
  • Jenny might find it impossible to make an honest living or to hang out with decent people now that everyone knows her shame.
  • Squire Allworthy assures Jenny that he's only telling her all of this so she understands the seriousness of what she has done.
  • He doesn't want to make her despair.
  • Squire Allworthy hopes that Jenny can still live a good, virtuous life as long as she feels truly sorry for her past sins.
  • Squire Allworthy wants to know who the man was who seduced Jenny and then abandoned her.
  • Jenny replies that she has absolutely, 100% promised not to explain the details of the baby's father.
  • Anyway, he is nowhere nearby, so Squire Allworthy will never have to meet him.
  • Squire Allworthy is impressed with Jenny's honor in refusing to give up the man's name.
  • He promises Jenny that he will find a way to move her out of the area so that she can start again, away from the slut-shaming of her fellow villagers.