Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 3, Chapter 4

By Henry Fielding

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Book 3, Chapter 4

Containing a Necessary Apology for the Author; and a Childish Incident, Which Perhaps Requires an Apology Likewise

  • Hold up, the narrator says.
  • Before we go any further, the narrator wants to make it clear: he's not making fun of real honor or real virtue.
  • What makes Mr. Thwackum and Mr. Square so worth laughing at is that they are hypocrites and liars.
  • The only thing that interrupts their argument at this moment is a squabble between Master Blifil and little Tom.
  • In general, Tom avoids fights with Master Blifil because he loves him and also because he knows he'll get into huge trouble if he hurts him.
  • But Tom totally loses his temper when Master Blifil calls him a "beggarly bastard" (3.4.8). Oooh, burn.
  • When Master Blifil runs to Squire Allworthy and Mr. Thwackum with a bloody nose, of course he fails to mention what he called Tom before the fight.
  • And then, to make matters worse, Master Blifil tattles on Tom's shooting companion.
  • He's the one who tells the group that it was Black George the gamekeeper who shot partridges with Tom several chapters ago.
  • Squire Allworthy asks if this is true.
  • Tom says that he couldn't rat out Black George, since Tom was the one who shot the partridge anyway.
  • What's more, Tom had promised not to tattle, and he didn't want to cause trouble for Black George or his family by telling the truth.
  • Squire Allworthy lets Tom and Master Blifil go with the warning that they should get along better together (which, spoiler alert, is clearly never going to happen).

Tom Jones Book 3, Chapter 4 Study Group

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