Tom Jones: Book 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Tom goes to Bristol; Western and his sister force Sophia for marrying Blifil; Sophia resents it and decides to run away; Tom joins a band of soldiers; he is hit by a bottle in a quarrel.

Chapter-wise Summary

      The next day, early morning Tom received a letter from Blifil, in which he informed him that Squire Allworthy wanted him to leave the area immediately. Tom also, in due obedience, made up his mind to go on a sea voyage. So, he hired horses and set out for Bristol.

      The morning on which Tom departed, Mrs. Western summoned Sophia into her apartment and told her that her father had resolved to marry her immediately with Blifil. But Sophia cried out "Indeed this is the only instance in which I must disobey both yourself and father; for this is a match which requires very little consideration in me to refuse." Mrs. Western insisted that she ought to have a greater regard for the honor of the tlie family than for her own person. Sophia replied "I shall never do anything to dishonor my family; but as for Mr. Blifil, whatever may be the consequence I am resolved against him and no force shall prevail in his favor." Mr. Western, who had been within hearing, was now exhausted of all his patience and entered the room in a violent passion and began to curse poor Sophia. Mrs. Western protested against his interfering in the matter which had been totally left to her negotiation. Mrs. Western was so enraged that she decided to leave the house.

      But when she was leaving the house, she was prevailed upon to stay by the entreaties of her brother.

      Sophia had to admit Mr. Blifil's second visit to her in obedience to the commands of her father. Although Mr. Blifil was not satisfied with his reception, yet he deceived his uncle by giving the false report that Sophia loved him and was willing to marry him. Mr. Allworthy was satisfied with the reports of Mr. Western and Mr. Blifil and so he gave his consent to the proposal of marriage.

      Mrs. Honour, the maid, informed Sophia that she had overheard her master talking to Parson Supple about gettings a license and that her ladyship will be married the next morning. Sophia at first turned pale at these words but afterward made a very bold decision of her life. She decided to leave her father's house that very night and requested Mrs. Honour to accompany her.

      Mrs. Honour hesitated, but a small incident made her agree with her mistress, Sophia. So both of them left the residence of Mr. Western the same night. Mr. Jones was on his road to Bristol, being determined to seek his fortune at sea. His guide, who undertook to conduct him on his way, was, unluckily, not acquainted with the road. Tom had to move forward and backward missing the right track. After all, they reached a village where they came to know that they had lost the way and were going away from Bristol. At last, they decided to spend the night at a public inn.

      The same night, a company of soldiers arrived at the inn. The sergeant told Mr. Jones that they were going to put down the rebels in the north. Tom readily agreed to go with them in order to fight for his king and his country. Tom marched with the soldiers. He was introduced to the commanding officer, who was a lieutenant and who warmly received Tom and appreciated his desire to fight for the king and the country. He invited Tom to dine with him and the rest of the officers
Tom proposed the toast (drinking to the health of somebody) of Sophia. Ensign Northerton, out of a joke, remarked that Sophia was the name of a prostitute, at which Tom took serious offense. Mr. Northerton cursed Jones and threw a bottle at his head which wounded him on the right temple. His head bled profusely. The Ensign was arrested. Tom was taken to bed and a surgeon attended him.

      When Tom recovered, he wanted to take revenge for his insult and, accordingly, bought a sword. At mid-night, he went into the room of the ensign but he was not there. The ensign had heavily bribed the landlady of the inn and that was how he managed to get out of the room in which he was confined.

      Tom was still very weak. The lieutenant came to Jones and, asking him to have rest and patience, he said "Remember the Christian doctrine of patience, and I warrant you will be able to do yourself justice and to take an honorable revenge on the fellow who hath injured you." The lieutenant then departed and Jones endeavored to compose himself to rest

Critical Analysis

      This book shows the character of Sophia in a new light. She is no longer the meek heroine. She loves Tom secretly. Under pressure of her father and her aunt to marry Blifil, she decides to nm away. Blifil's motives, in desiring marriage with Sophia, are greed and lust. He does not care for Sophia's feelings and makes Allworthy believe that Sophia desires him. Squire Allworthy's character receives some notice here. He is rather credulous and is easily taken in by Blifil's suggestions. He cannot discriminate between a good person and a hypocritical one.

      Squire Western's character, is revealed here. He is a rather despotic father. He cannot appreciate the feelings of Sophia. Though he expresses concern for her welfare, he does not consult her about her choice of a partner. He is against any sentimental love. He thinks that marriage should be based on social respectability and convenience rather than love. He a typical example of the patriarch of an eighteenth-century house-hold.

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