Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 17, Chapter 1

By Henry Fielding

Book 17, Chapter 1

Containing a Portion of Introductory Writing

  • The end of a comedy comes when the author has made his characters as happy as possible.
  • The end of a tragedy means that the author has made his characters as miserable as possible.
  • If this were a tragedy, we would be really close to the end.
  • How much unhappier can Tom and Sophia get?
  • To make them happy seems much harder to do, at this point.
  • Instead of finding joy, it seems likelier that Sophia will either marry Mr. Blifil or Lord Fellamar, and that Tom will get hanged.
  • The narrator promises he won't use any supernatural forces to make Tom happy. (No wish-granting genies!)
  • Classical writers were lucky.
  • They could just pull in their gods to take care of business when they needed to change a plot around.
  • But the narrator has to stick to realistic, natural ways of getting Tom out of jail.
  • And Tom may not even know the worst part of his bad luck yet.