Tom Jones: Book 2 - Summary & Analysis

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The birth of Blifil; Partridge the schoolmaster is dismissed on the ground that he is Tom's father; the death of Captain Blifil.

Chapter-wise Summary

      Eight months after the marriage, Miss Bridget Allworthy gave birth to a fine boy. Mr. Allworthy was much pleased but he had much affection also for the little foundling, Thomas. So he told his sister that the newborn infant should be bred up together with little Tommy, to which she consented, but Captain Blifil wanted to get rid of the foundling. At this time, Mrs. Deborah made a new discovery.

      Jenny Jones was the maid servant of the schoolmaster Mr. Partridge. She used to take lessons from Mr. Partridge. Once, as she was reading and her master was leaning over her, she suddenly started up from her chair and this made Mrs. Partridge suspicious. Once more, at dinner, Mr. Partridge said something in Latin to Jenny, upon which the poor girl smiled, perhaps at the badness of Latin and when her mistress looked at her, she blushed. Mrs. Partridge, upon this, fell into a fury and attacked the girl with a knife in her hand. Jenny ran away and saved her life. Mrs. Partridge dismissed her from service.

      After some time, Mrs. Partridge went to the assembly of females where she heard that Jenny Jones had given birth to a bastard. Though the story was baseless, yet Mrs. Partridge believed it. She was convinced of her husband's guilt and immediately left the assembly in confusion. Reaching home, she at once flew at the poor teacher. Her tongue, teeth and hands all fell upon him at once. Mr. Partridge acted on the defensive only. But the women of the neighborhood gathered in his house and condemned him.

      Captain Blifil, too, heard all about it from Mrs. Deborah. He reported it to Squire Allworthy. Mrs. Wilkins also confirmed the statement of Captain Blifil.

      Squire Allworthy sent for Mr. Partridge. Mr. Partridge pleaded his innocence but Mrs. Partridge alleged that her husband was guilty. Jenny Jones was then sent for but she could not be found anywhere. Mr. Allworthy was convinced that Partridge was the father and Jenny Jones, the mother of the foundling. Mr. Partridge was deprived of the annuity that he got from Squire Allworthy. Soon after this incident, Mrs. Partridge died and Mr. Partridge left the Parish.

      Captain Blifil made several attempts to remove Tommy from the house of Squire Allworthy; but Miss Bridget was fond of Tommy and refused to remove him, with the result that differences arose between husband and. wife. However, all the differences and quarrels came to an end by the sudden death of Blifil from apoplexy.

Critical Analysis

      This book shows the different scenes of married life. The married life of Bridget Allworthy and Captain Blifil, as also that of Mr. and Mrs. Partridge, is quite unhappy. There is a lot of quarreling between the couples. But the Blifils managed to keep up appearances, while Mr. and Mrs. Partridge openly censure each other. There is discussion on the subject of charity. For Allworthy, charity means generosity and benevolent conduct towards people in suffering, but for Captain Blifil, charity means putting a good construction on the action of others. Captain Blifil is hypocritical though people respect him as a true Christian. He looks to the letter of religion but ignores its spirit. The plot is advanced to some extent and the married life of the Blifils results in the birth of a son.

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