Tom Jones: Book 5 - Summary & Analysis

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Tom's stay at Squire Western's home; Tom gets dose to Sophia; Square is discovered in Molly's bedroom; Allworthy's illness; Bridget's death; Tom celebrates Allworthy's recovery; Tom gets injured in a fight with Blifil.

Chapter-wise Summary

      During his illness, Tom realized that Sophia loved him. He felt that he too had a much stronger passion for her than he himself was acquainted with. He had ardent wishes for her, but the idea of Molly intruded before him. He foresaw the ruin of the poor girl if he deserted her. Amidst these thoughts, poor Jones passed a long sleepless night and, in the morning, he decided to abide by Molly and to think no more of Sophia. But next day, a trifling accident set all his passions again on float.

      Mrs. Honour, Sophia's maid-servant told him that Sophia attached a great value to her old muff which he had once touched with his hands and kissed. After that, Tom Jones was sitting in the Presence of Squire Western when Sophia came there and Tom noticed the same muff on her right arm. It so happened that while she was playing one of her father's favorite tunes and he (Squire) was leaning on her chair, the muff fell down. This disconcerted the Squire. He took it up and threw it into the fire. Sophia at once started up and eagerly recovered it from the flames. This trifling incident had a violent effect on poor Jones and he was convinced of Sophia's love for him.

      The concern for what would become of poor Molly greatly disturbed and perplexed the mind of the worthy youth. He thought of his duty towards Molly and tried to banish from his mind all thoughts about the beautiful Sophia. One day, Tom, when he had recovered, went to see Molly. Tom had to wait for some time before he could meet Molly because her room was closed from inside. As she opened the door, she started saying that his life was false and he had forsaken her while she bore a deep love for him. Just at this moment, a curtain in Molly's room dropped. Jones was greatly surprised to find the philosopher Square hiding himself behind the curtain. Square was caught red-handed. Jones burst into laughter but he assured die philosopher that he would keep this incident a secret and asked him to be kind to Molly. He advised Molly to be faithful to her friend.

      Later on, Tom came to know that Molly had many lovers and that Will Barnes was the father of her child. Thus he severed all his connections with Molly forever.

      Squire Allworthy had been lying seriously ill for some days. The physician declared that the Squire would not recover from illness. Squire Allworthy, anticipating his death, prepared a will in which he bequeathed all his property to his nephew Blifil and annual pensions to Miss Bridget and Tom Jones.

      In the meanwhile, Mr. Blifil was informed that his mother, Miss Bridget had died. Mr. Blifil conveyed the news to his uncle. Squire Allworthy received it with patience and resignation.

      Tom Jones was much worried about the sickness of Mr. Allworthy. But actually, Squire Allworthy was not as seriously ill as he was reported or suspected to be. He soon recovered from his illness and the doctor declared him perfectly safe. When Tom Jones came to know that Mr. Allworthy was out of danger, he was so much beside himself with joy that he drank a lot of wine and quarreled with Blifil in his fit of intoxication. But by the mediation of Thwackum and the physician, peace was restored.

      Jones then went to the fields where he intended to cool himself by a walk in the open air. It was a pleasant evening. He was thinking of Sophia when suddenly, Molly appeared there. Blifil and Thwackum, while taking a walk, also reached there and discovered that Tom was with a woman. Blifil and Thwackum asked Tom who the woman was. But Jones refused to reveal the name of his companion who had already hidden herself in the thickest part of the grove. Consequently, there ensued a fight between Tom on one side and Blifil and Thwackum on the other. Tom gave Blifil such a blow that he fell flat on the ground. At this moment, Squire Western with Sophia and his sister reached there. When Sophia found that Tom was bleeding, she fainted. Tom soon carried Sophia to the side of a brook and brought her back to consciousness. Squite Western then took Tom to his own house.

Critical Analysis

      In this book, Tom's relation with both Sophia and Molly are discussed. In fact, Tom is in love with Sophia.

      But he thinks that she is too great for him. He is not quite sure of Sophia. Therefore he must pursue Molly and be sincere to her. He is faced with a moral dilemma. However, Tom's reaction to Square's presence in Molly's bedroom is praise-worthy. He promises Square that he would not expose the latter and requests him to be kind to Molly. Tom's charitable construction on Molly's affair with Square shows the nobility of his character. He rather blamed himself for having been the original corruptor of Molly. Tom's misbehavior with Molly under the influence of drink, does not receive the censure it deserves. Drunkenness was a common trait of the people of this period. Tom is guilty of improper conduct under the influence of drink.

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