Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 10, Chapter 1

By Henry Fielding

Book 10, Chapter 1

Containing Instructions Very Necessary To Be Perused By Modern Critics

  • The narrator does not want any critics to misrepresent him.
  • He addresses his critics as "little reptile."
  • (We're imagining something like this.)
  • So, let's say you're a "little reptile" critic.
  • Here's what the narrator says you're not allowed to do:
  • (1) Don't assume that anything that happens in the novel is pointless just because you don't see the point.
  • (2) Don't complain because some characters closely resemble each other.
  • Sometimes two people doing the same job in two different places (like the landladies in Books 7 and 9) will have traits in common.
  • That doesn't mean they are the same.
  • (3) Don't assume that any character is bad just because he isn't perfectly good.
  • After all, there are no perfect people in the world.
  • In fact, it's morally better to notice the flaws in characters we otherwise like than to be really black-and-white about Good vs. Evil.
  • With these warnings out of the way, we can get on with the story.