Merriage in Henry Fielding's Tom Jones

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Marriage in
Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones

Henry Fielding’s novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, is a very intricate novel about a boy/man who is something of a less than a perfect man in society. Tom Jones is a man who is believed to be a child born out of wedlock and is raised by a man out of the goodness of his heart. The story possesses many characters and some of those characters are married. There are also relationships that are aimed at becoming marriages. The following paper examines marriage in the novel of Tom Jones.

The primary characters in the beginning of the novel are brother and sister and neither of them is married. They live together. They are Allworthy and his sister Bridget. One day Allworthy returns home only to find a baby in his bed. This baby was born out of wedlock and he sends the presumed mother away and raises the child as his own. His sister marries and gives birth to a boy and then her husband dies. The two boys, Blifil and Tom, are raised together in a house that does not have a married couple, but rather a brother and sister. In this foundation of a setting it can be seen that marriage is perhaps out of necessity for many and Allworthy and Bridget seem content to go without marriage, although Bridget was once married. They raise children together without the institution of marriage being a concern. However, it is clearly a concern for society because a child born out of wedlock is not given the same status in society as a child from a marriage. Even Allworthy, who loved Tom and raised him, is not inclined to want to give him the same sort of inheritance he will plan on leaving Blifil. In this it seems that marriage is just the “right thing to do.” Society demands that people get married for a variety of reasons but it also seems that the author does not necessarily see marriage as a necessity. As the story develops Tom becomes involved with a young woman and she...
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