Narrator's, Narrative Device Used in Tom Jones

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      Fielding's obtrusive presence throughout Tom Jones, has been criticised by several critics. In the course of the narrative, the author adds a moralising comment, explains everything, and takes on the role of a guide. The authorial interruption tends to diminish the authenticity of his narrative.

      Fielding had a clear purpose in the constant flow of interruptions. He was writing a "comic" novel. The interruption is a narrative device, which serves to keep the reader from getting too emotionally involved in the characters and their actions. As such, the reader is kept out of the character's mind and heart. Motives are abstracted and analysed; feelings are defined. External gestures are reported rather than the immediate emotions of the characters in moments of crisis. The author is a placid, objective, impartial and omniscient presence communicating with the reader. His characters are seen but we are not admitted into their confidence.

      Fielding interrupts the narrative to correct our possible misinterpretations, or to point out some detail which we might have missed; But his constant interpolations are not acceptable from a literary point of view. They often break the spell of his imaginary world represented in the novel—they spoil the sense of narrative illusion. Modem readers prefer the characters to speak for themselves through their actions.

University Questions

Consider the merits and drawbacks of Fielding's narrative device of constant authorial interruption in Tom Jones.
Discuss the significance of the Narrator's Role in Tom Jones.

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