The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling
, also known as simply Tom Jones
, is a classic picaresque
novel by Henry Fielding, telling the adventures of the title protagonist
, a deeply honorable Handsome Lech
. It is full of social parody
both subtle and ham-handed. It has been adapted as a film (1963), a TV series (1997), and in opera form.
Not to be confused with Tom Jones
Tom Jones contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Both the 1960s film and the 1990s miniseries are very faithful to the spirit of the novel and to its content to a fairly large extent (more so in the latter). The latter arguably improves on the book in its presentation of Sophia and its decision to pair Partridge and Mrs. Honour.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Blifil and Lord Fellamar for Sophia, Lady Bellaston for Tom.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Fielding loves to comment on the tropes he is using.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Squire Western is a classic example, and played by BRIAN BLESSED no less in the 1990s series.
- Bowdlerization: The 1997 miniseries lost some very explicit sex when it was aired in the United States.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The 1963 film was one of the earliest movies for a character to directly address the audience. It actually happens several times, but the scene at the inn is by far the most memorable.
- Chick Magnet / Chivalrous Pervert / Handsome Lech: Ladies really love Tom Jones, and he usually returns the favors and, being a naturally kind-hearted fella, genuinely cares about them. At different times, he shows traits of all three tropes.
- Erotic Eating: Used in the scene with Tom and Mrs. Waters and famously filmed in the 1960s version.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Hoo boy.... The amount of time spent touching, caressing, kissing, and talking about Sophie's muff.
- Heroic Bastard: Tom himself
- Hollywood Atheist: Inverted with Square who basically chooses atheism as an excuse for wrongdoing (because, you know, atheists are immoral) and admittedly, he reforms at the end with a death bed conversion. On the other hand, he's still always more likable than the Holier Than Thou Thwackum and it's clear that he could have been a perfectly good person following his atheistic philosophy.
- Hot-Blooded: Western.
- Incest Is Relative: Tom Jones, you need to be more careful about whom you sleep with...
- Lemony Narrator: Micheál Mac Liammóir's deadpan delivery in the film.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Except Blifil. As another example of his hypocritical virtue.
- Meaningful Name: Oh, where to begin...
- Sophie = Wisdom (our hero is on a quest to...dare I say...acquire Sophie???)
- Mr. Square = Very severe and sharp edged.
- Squire Western = Is a pig (yes, this was intentional)
- Squire Allworthy = Is the kindest, nicest, and actively most-good character in the story.
- Mr. Thwackum = Need I spell it out?
- Only a Flesh Wound: In the movie: "Mr Jones, you've broken your arm!" "Indeed madame, but I have another to walk you home."
- Really Gets Around: Most of the ladies in the novel are not averse to promiscuity.
- Roguish Poacher: Black George
- Sadist Teacher: Thwackum.
- Spiritual Successor: To Fielding's earlier novel Joseph Andrews.
- Stylistic Suck: Honour's letter and monologues.
- Twist Ending: Lampshadedly from tragedy to happy end for Jones, and the identity of Jones's mother.