Movie Analysis : ' Tom Jones ' Essay

Movie Analysis : ' Tom Jones ' Essay

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Oftentimes one’s perception of character is skewed by stereotypes associated with class and monetary standing; these stereotypes, however, rarely have any basis in reality. Such is the case with Squire Allworthy and Mrs. Deborah Wilkins in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. In this novel, Fielding utilizes the juxtaposition of cruel, compassionless, and insulting diction with generous and righteous diction – as well as the juxtaposition of the narrator’s mockingly sarcastic tone with the narrator’s admiring tone – to highlight the contrast between the respective characterizations of Mr. Allworthy and Mrs. Wilkins. This reversal of stereotypes urges readers to question social prejudices typically associated with class and wealth, as well as recognize the presence of moral corruption at all levels of English society.
While members of the uppermost class are often depicted in literature as compassionless and stingy, Fielding’s use of generous, righteous diction purposefully defies this stereotype in his characterization of Mr. Allworthy. Even as a squire, Allworthy ironically remains the only character in the excerpt to feel any sort of sympathy toward the infant he discovers. Because “good nature [is] always the ascendant in his mind,” Allworthy is able to fully appreciate the “beauty of [the child’s] innocence.” His maternal compassion for the infant characterizes him as unusually generous and caring for a man of his wealth, and urges readers to reconsider the prejudices surrounding class and social standing. Similarly, Mrs. Deborah Wilkins also defies the stereotypes surrounding her own socioeconomic status. Rather than proving herself to be an empathetic underdog, Wilkins’ ruthless, insulting point of view characterizes her ...


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...e struggling poor, Fielding makes a point to reverse these stereotypes in the characters of Mrs. Deborah Wilkins and Squire Allworthy; Wilkins’ complete lack of sympathy for the impoverished infant’s plight characterizes her as unusually callous and shallow for an individual of such low social standing, while Mr. Allworthy’s devoted virtue similarly characterizes him as unusually generous and compassionate for someone so wealthy. Fielding’s particular combination of class and character satirizes his society’s prejudiced perception of social standing, and suggest shallowness and moral corruption are not exclusively found in members of the uppermost classes. Each person is their own individual separate from class and wealth, and should be judged as such; Fielding strongly urges his readers to leave prejudiced preconceptions of class behind when judging one’s character.

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