Epic comic romance; Bildungsroman



Point of view  

The narrator predominantly speaks in the first person singular, but occasionally slips into a Victorian first person plural "we." The last quarter of the novel is partly epistolary, with letters embedded in the prose. The narrator is essentially omniscient and fluctuates between the minds of various characters.


The narrator's tone is constantly ironic. There has been much debate, however, about what kind of irony Fielding employs, and critics have coined various terms to describe the narrative tone, which is unique to Fielding.



Setting (time)  

c. 1745

Setting (place)  

England (mainly Somersetshire, Bristol, Upton, London)


Tom Jones

Major conflict  

Tom Jones and Sophia Western cannot marry, since Tom is believed to be a foundling bastard and Sophia's father wishes her to marry someone of her own gentile class.

Rising action  

Tom and Sophia fall in love, Allworthy banishes Tom, Sophia runs away from Squire Western to London, Tom has an affair with Lady Bellaston .


Tom is thrown into prison for "killing" Fitzpatrick in a duel.

Falling action  

Tom's friends rally to reunite him with Sophia and clear his name, Blifil's deceit is discovered.


The narrator engages in constant self-conscious foreshadowing of the events of the upcoming chapter or book.