American History

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Social Values in Tom Jones Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, which appeared in the eighteenth century, is both one of the greatest comic masterpieces and a pioneer in the form of novel. Unlike other great literary pieces, Fielding's Tom Jones does not have arch heroes like Beowulf in Beowulf or the angels in Paradise Lost; the protagonist is Tom Jones, a bastard and a truly ordinary, fun-loving man, and because of his ordinariness, the reader is able to see the social values of the eighteenth century through Tom Jones' journey of life.

Tom Jones is the true timeless everyman; his philosophy that "any woman is better than none" is still held and deeply believed by many men today. He is not exactly a hero; he is willing to risk his life to save girls, yet his love towards Sophie Western isn't exactly faithful either. However, he is indeed honest with himself; he never tries to make any pretence about his feelings, and through his honest character, Fielding is able to satirize the hypocrisy that generally exists among the people of the eighteenth century.

For example, Mr. Blifil is the typical "gentleman" of the time. In most people's opinion, he is polite, modest, and rich. Yet in his competition with Tom Jones over Sophie Western's love, his hypocrisy is seen everywhere; he intentionally releases the bird that Tom Jones has given to Sophie Western, and once he tries to impolitely hug Sophie Western in the garden.