Tom Jones English Summary

Key Information: 

  • Full Title: A History of Tom Jones, A Foundling
  • Author: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
  • Time of Composition: 1746
  • Place of Written: England
  • Publish Date: 1749
  • Genre: Epic Comic Romance
  • Type of Work: Novel
  • Publisher: A. Millar
  • Narrator: Anonymous
  • Protagonist: Tom Jones
  • Point of View: First-person Point of View
  • Time Setting: 1745
  • Place Setting: England

Themes of the Novel:  

  • Virtue as an action rather than thought
  • The impossibility of stereotypical categorization
  • The tension between Art and Artifice

Motifs of the Novel:

  • Food
  • Travel
  • The Law
  • The Stage

Symbols of the Novel:

  • Sophia’s Muff

Characters of the Novel:

Squire Allworthy: Squire Allworthy is the most kind and humane person in the Allworthy family. He takes the responsibility of raising Tom and plays a central role in the novel.

Bridget Allworthy: Squire Allworthy’s sister. She is married to a man named Captain Bilfil and they have a son named Master Bilfil.

Tom Jones: The hero of this novel.

Sophia Western: A beautiful virtuous woman and the heroine of this novel.

Jenny Jones: In this novel, we see that Tom is on a bed in a state of anonymity when his mother is searched, and Jenny Jones is identified as his mother.

Dr.Bilfil and Captain Bilfil: Dr. Bilfil and Captain Bilfil are two brothers. Captain Bilfil married Bridget Allworthy.

Master Bilfil: Son of Captain Bilfil and Bridget Allworthy.

Black George: An employee of the Allworthy family. Black George has a daughter named Molly Seagrim. Tom has an illicit relationship with Molly Seagrim.

Squire Western: Squire Western is Sophia’s father. Sophia is the heroine of this novel.

Mrs. Western: Squire Western’s sister and Sophia’s aunt.

Partridge: A teacher whom Allworthy regards as Tom’s father.

Lady Bellaston: A distant relative of Sophia who lives in London.

Harriet Fitzpatrick: Sophia’s cousin and wife of Mr. Fitzpatrick.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: An Irish man and husband of Harriet Fitzpatrick.

Mrs. Miller: Tom Jones stayed at Mrs. Miller’s house when he went to London.

Nancy Miller: Mrs. Miller’s daughter.

Tom Jones English Summary

Finding a parentless child on a bed:

Allworthy comes home from London and finds a baby with beautiful feet on his bed. After seeing the child, Allworthy feels a lot of confusion in his mind and Allworthy is interested to know whose the child actually is. Allworthy calls his servant, Mrs. Wilkins, and tells her who the child is. Mrs. Wilkins is even more surprised than Allworthy when she sees the baby, because she doesn’t even know whose baby it is. Wilkins wonders if the child is an illegitimate child. Mrs. Wilkins could not give her owner, Allworthy, any information about the child. Allworthy entrusts his servant Mrs. Wilkin’s with the care of the child.

Later it is known who is the mother of this child. A woman named Jenny Jones claims the baby as hers. She works in a master’s house. She did not have enough money to raise the child properly. When Allworthy asks to know the name of the baby’s father, she does not reveal the baby’s father. Allworthy gives some money to Jenny Jones and says to go somewhere far away and live nicely with this money and he will take care of the child. Allworthy takes this child and entrusts his sister Bridget with full responsibility for the child’s care. Allworthy tells his sister Bridget that you will take good care of this child as  your own child. Bridget couldn’t get over her brother and begins raising the child as her own. Allworthy named the baby Tom and this Tom is the hero of our novel, Tom Jones.

Bridget’s marriage to Captain Bilfil:

Dr. Bilfil and Captain Bilfil are two brothers. Dr. Bilfil wants his brother Captain Bilfil to marry Bridget, which is why he approaches Allworthy with a marriage proposal. Captain Bilfil and Bridget fall in love as soon as they see each other. Allworthy initially does not agree to this proposal but later agrees. Allworthy gives his sister Bridget in marriage to Captain Bilfil.

After marriage they both spend their days very happily and peacefully. They got a son named Master Bilfil. Within days of the wedding, Captain Bilfil forgets his brother Dr. Bilfil. Dr. Bilfil was very upset and he never met his brother again and moved away. Meanwhile, Tom Jones and Master Bilfil grow up together in the Allworthy household. Captain Bilfil wants his son to own all the property of this family. Because of this, he could not tolerate Tom at all. But unfortunately he dies within a few days.

Master Bilfil and Tom grow up together:

Master Bilfil and Tom grow up together in the Allworthy household. Allworthy fixes two masters for both of them. Tom is very evasive in his studies. Meanwhile, Master Bilfil is always jealous of Tom and complains to Sir in the name of Tom. Meanwhile, Master Bilfil, like his father, always wants to get Tom out of his way, which is why Master Bilfil complains about Tom to Allworthy. Since Tom is a little mischievous since childhood, many people do not see him well. Tom’s teacher also doesn’t like Tom because Master Bilfil makes many complaints on Tom’s behalf to the master in advance.

Tom’s stealing habit:

But Tom used to steal from his own house. And there were several reasons behind this theft. Despite his mischievous nature, Tom had a habit of helping people from an early age. Tom originally stole to serve a poor servant named Black George. Tom had a friendly relationship with the Black George. Tom would help him in any danger. In fact, this Black George is none other than Molly Seagrim’s father. Tom has an illicit relationship with Molly. Tom does not really love Molly but only uses Molly to satisfy his physical needs. Tom loves Squire Western’s daughter Sophia.

Sophia and Tom’s love:

Tom loves Squire Western’s daughter Sophia very much. Tom always wants to tell Sophia that he loves her but he can’t. Meanwhile, a rumor spreads that Molly is pregnant and Tom is going to be the father of the child. Tom is very worried about this. Tom cannot accept that he will be the father of Molly’s child. However, at some point Tom realizes that Molly is having relationships with other boys, so he is not the father of the child. Anyway, Tom takes great pains to tell Sophia what he feels and how much he loves her. Sophia agrees to Tom’s proposal and they begin to love each other.

Illness of Squire Allworthy:

Allworthy fell ill suddenly. Allworthy’s illness brings sadness over the whole house. Tom is very depressed by Allworthy’s illness because Tom loves Allworthy very much. Master Bilfil loves Allworthy only because of property but Tom really loves Allworthy. And because of this, Tom could not bear Allworthy’s illness and leaves home. Allworthy wants all his property to be divided equally between Master Bilfil and Tom. Because of this, he calls all the relatives of the family. Just then a lawyer appears and informs Allworthy that his sister Bridget has died. After hearing this sad news, their share is closed. Allworthy recovered within a few days. Tom is overjoyed to hear the news of Allworthy’s recovery and starts dancing with joy and says that I will share this happy news with Sophia. Meanwhile, Master Bilfil is dying to see Tom’s joy.

Except for Sophia’s father’s marriage proposal and Tom’s house:

Tom wants to tell this happy news to Sophia. That’s why he wants to meet her and tell her this happy news. Meanwhile at Sophia’s house, Sophia’s aunt, Mrs. Western arrives. And she tells Sophia’s father about Sophia’s marriage. Sophia’s aunt wants to marry Sophia to Master Bilfil. Sophia’s father thinks that the family is good, the son is good, then there can be no reason for them. So Sophia’s father goes to Allworthy with his daughter’s marriage proposal. Hearing the proposal, Allworthy agrees with one sentence. When Master Bilfil is told, Master Bilfil agrees to the marriage. But when Sophia’s father tells Sophia that I have arranged your marriage with Master Bilfil, Sophia becomes very angry and rejects the marriage proposal in one word.

Sophia says I love Tom more than my life I can’t marry anyone but you. Meanwhile, Sophia’s father thinks that marriage with Tom is unacceptable in any way. Because Tom’s father is anonymous, Tom’s mother is wrong and he is a bastard child. Sophia’s father does not accept Sophia’s words at all. When Master Bilfil learns this news Master Bilfil falsely accuses Tom of Allworthy. Master Bilfil tells Allworthy that Tom drinks a lot and he beats me a lot. And Master Bilfil’s marriage to Sophia is not letting Tom. Meanwhile, Sophia’s father also complains to Allworthy against Tom. Allworthy takes everything into consideration and sends for Tom. Allworthy tells him that you will leave this house now, you have no right to stay in this house and you are a  reckless boy. Tom feels a lot of pain after hearing Allworthy’s words and leaves the house remembering the pain in his heart.

Tom and Sophia escape to London:

When Tom is kicked out of his house by Allworthy, Tom moves around and makes different friends. Not only did he become friends, but he got involved in illicit relationships with many women. While traveling, Tom befriends a man named Partridge and he and Tom move to London. After going to London, Tom stays at the house of a woman named Mrs. Miller. Tom has an illicit affair with Mrs. Miller’s daughter, Nancy, and they are both involved in a physical relationship. Tom soon realizes that Nancy is pregnant, so Tom quickly arranges for Nancy’s marriage to Nightingale.

Meanwhile, Sophia’s father wants to force Sophia into marriage with Master Bilfi. But Sophia doesn’t want to marry Master Bilfil at all so Sophia runs away from home and moves to London. After arriving in London, she comes to a relative named Lady Bellaston’s house. Then they meet Tom and Sophia. Sophia realizes that Tom has been involved in illicit affairs with several women, which causes her to become angry with Tom, but their quarrel does not last long as they really love each other, they fall in love again after a while.

Sophia’s father arrives in London to look for Sophia:

Sophia’s father is so worried that Sophia has run away from home that he moves to Lady Baston’s house in London, accompanied by the Allworthy , Master Bilfil and Mrs. Western, to look for his daughter. Here they find Sophia. And Sophia’s father keeps Sophia locked in a room.

Meanwhile, a man named Fitzpatrick arrives in London and starts looking for Tom. When he finds Tom, he tells Tom that he had an affair with his wife, Mrs. Waters, and that he wants revenge. This is why he challenges Tom to a sword fight. Tom accepts his challenge and the two engage in a sword fight. While fighting, Tom once hits Fitzpatrick with his sword and he falls to the ground and becomes unconscious. Everyone thinks he is dead and for this the police arrest Tom and take him to jail.

Some days later, Mrs. Water arrives in London and tells everyone that her husband is not dead yet, he is alive. As soon as Allworthy sees Mrs. Water, he recognizes her as none other than Jenny Jones. Here Allworthy learns that Master Bilfil’s accusations against Tom are false. After learning this truth, Allworthy decides not to speak to Master Bilfil anymore and Master Bilfil to not stay with him anymore.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Water reveals a secret truth to Allworthy that she is not Tom’s real mother but Tom’s real mother is Allworthy’s sister Bridget. The truth was revealed and Allworthy realized that Tom was the heir to his clan. Allworthy’s anger goes out on Tom and he gets Tom out of jail. This time, Sophia’s father has no objection to marrying his daughter to Tom. Thus the novel ends with the marriage of Tom and Sophia. 

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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