Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 4, Chapter 2

By Henry Fielding

Book 4, Chapter 2

A Short Hint of What We Can Do in the Sublime, and a Description of Miss Sophia Western

  • In the previous chapter, the narrator told us that he wanted to work up something suitably dramatic to introduce Sophia Western, our heroine.
  • In this chapter, we find out what the narrator means when he's talking about such "poetical embellishments" (4.1.2).
  • We start out this chapter with extremely formalpoetic language, of the kind we haven't seen yet in Tom Jones.
  • These poetic words decoratethis chapter with extra-lovely (almost ridiculous) imagery of gods and goddesses and flowers and beauty.
  • This chapter makes fun of high-toned language, with its sudden use of "thy" and "thou" instead of "your" and "you."
  • The switch to constant poetic quotation sounds really stiff and awkward after all that exciting, down-to-earth stuff about bastards and poaching that we have seen in the previous chapters.
  • Still, as we plow through all of this high and mighty language, we definitely get the sense that Sophie Western is smokin' hot.
  • But she is more than beautiful: she is also well educated and sweet-tempered.
  • In short: she is our heroine.