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Connecting the Whole Richetti states that eighteenth-centu
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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2019 04:49:31    Post subject:  Connecting the Whole Richetti states that eighteenth-centu
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Connecting the Whole


Richetti states that eighteenth-century novels in England are "heavily didactic
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," and the writers of the period are "open in their championing of moral truths" (Richetti 35). This assertion is undoubtedly accurate for Tom Jones; however, Fielding is well aware that "novel-reading is gratuitous and that commitment to a text is provisional" (Sherman 232). Therefore Fielding, in order to procure and satisfy readers' desires, engages readers in a "literal contract" (Sherman 234).



nds on social agreements, implicit pacts or contracts in order to produce exchanges that themselves are a function of desires
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, purposes, constraints... It is only on the strength of such agreements [contracts] that narratives can exert their impact and produce act of narration occurs without at least an implicit contract, that is, an understanding between narrator and narratee, an illocutionary situation that makes the act meaningful and gives it what we call a "point" (Chambers 4
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, 9)

Fielding realizes, that in order to "produce change" in his readers' moral visions, he must "appeal to readerly desire" and "earn the privilege to narrate" (Sherman 235). This realization of Fielding's is the major purpose of his authorial intrusions. While Fielding may describe his prefatory chapters as being "serious," and "dull," he knows
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, and we know, they are anything but serious (Fielding 184). Indeed, his prefatory chapters, narrative digressions, and chapter titles are as humorous and entertaining as anything narrated in Fielding's "comic" parts of the novel.


I submit that Fielding intended his prefatory chapters and narrative digressions to underscore one of the main themes in Tom Jones: the enormous difficulty of fully 'knowing' the people we interact with in society (or in novels). Fielding asserts that the only way to understand the characters of people is to be had through "conversation" (Fielding 425). However
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, this is not completely accurate, as Fielding gives us many examples of characters in his novel who were led astray by other characters that they believed they knew well. In the relationships between Bliful and Allworthy, Tom and Molly, Sophia and Lady Bellaston, we see that 'conversation' is not always enlightening.


Likewise
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, Fielding-the-narrator deceives us through his 'conversation' with us throughout the entire novel. Although from the very beginning of the novel, Fielding shows himself as a person who may be 'feigning' at times, he still manages to achieve our trust as an 'honest' narrative voice. Though Fielding admits us "behind the scenes of this great theatre of Nature" in showing other characters' motivations (Fielding 285), in the end, we also are led astray by the narrator himself.


Bibliography


Chambers
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, Ross. Story and Situation: Narrative Seduction and the Power of Fiction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. 4,9.


Fielding, Henry. Tom Jones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.


Richetti
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, John. "Ideology and Literary Form in Fielding's Tom Jones." Ideology and Form in Eighteenth-Century Literature. Ed. David H. Richter. Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 1999. 31-45.


Sherman, Sandra. "Reading at Arm's Length: Fielding's Contract with the Reader in Tom Jones." Studies in the Novel 30.2 (1998): 232-45.

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2019 04:49:31    Post subject: Adv





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