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Frequent Contributor
PeterP
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Tom Jones - Books Three: The Plot of TJ.

That is an excellent piece by Newstvold - so succient and to the point. I wonder what Coleridge thought the others were? I'm taking a really wild stab here, but what about Sophocles' Oedipus Rex? Whatever else, it involves a riddle about birth and origin. Great plots usual seem to involve some riddle - and the plots unfolds in in endless variations of who learns what when and what they do with the information. In Tom Jones isn't it funny that, aside from Fielding himself, it is Jenny Jones who, all along, holds the key to the riddle?






Choisya wrote:
Here is a good analysis of the novel by a German critic, Ruth Nestvold PhD. Her comments regarding the 'neatly constructed plot' are interesting. Apparently Samuel Taylor Coleridge called TJ 'one of the three most perfectly planned plots in literature'. Do you agree?

http://www.ruthnestvold.com/tomjones.htm

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rdm68
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tom Jones - Books Three: The Plot of TJ.



PeterP wrote:
That is an excellent piece by Newstvold - so succient and to the point. I wonder what Coleridge thought the others were? I'm taking a really wild stab here, but what about Sophocles' Oedipus Rex? Whatever else, it involves a riddle about birth and origin. Great plots usual seem to involve some riddle - and the plots unfolds in in endless variations of who learns what when and what they do with the information. In Tom Jones isn't it funny that, aside from Fielding himself, it is Jenny Jones who, all along, holds the key to the riddle?








Different people have claimed at different times that all plots can be reduced to a few archetypes - the detective story being one of them. "Detective story" being used in the broad sense to mean the eventual revelation of a secret after the gradual accumulation of clues. Oedipus Rex clearly falls in that category.

Another archetype is "the quest": someone goes on a voyage to obtain some prize, encountering various obstacles along the way. Although it's always seemed to me that almost EVERY plot can be seen as a quest of some sort. In a sense, a detective story is a "quest" to solve a mystery. Different archetypes can be present in the same tale - and at a certain point, categories can become so broad as to be essentially useless!
Frequent Contributor
Fiction4Sale
Posts: 125
Registered: ‎08-24-2007
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Re: Tom Jones - Books Three: The Plot of TJ.

After a lapse of some time in reading Fielding, the "sense" of structure that comes to mind is theatrical. That his work in the theatre influenced his novel structures seems clearly evident. That style of thinking, the structural economy of playwriting, gives his novels that confident ratcheting forward, so that any number of standard plot structures appear to roll beneath the surface performances. I get the feeling too that 18th century novelists were experimenting in their frame tales and prefaces with the educational "value" of what they were about in this new format. I do remember after my last reading of TJ, maybe ten years ago, recognizing his debt to Cervantes' Don Quixote; there are clear borrowings in incident and theatrical structures.
Jim Stallings: (Peruse published fiction ):
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"Literature is humanity's deep gossip."
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margoolio
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎08-14-2007
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Re: Tom Jones - Books One and Two

I have found myself diving right into this story with intrigue. It feels as though the author is including us in a play or a movie and we are the secret audience that is watching the story play out. In Books One and Two I don't think that the town's suspicion of Allworthy being the father is very important. Allworthy seems to care more about the future of the foundling then how it came to him in the first place. I think because he has been alone for many years he wants to take care of the foundling maybe to fill the void of not having his own children or family. I think he is happy with the situation and is glad that someone thought of him before getting rid of the child.
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tom Jones - Books One and Two



Laurel wrote:
I'm listening to an unabridged reading of the book, complete with Handel's music. I think I'm half-way through. I think I fell asleep a few times

Time to wake up and tell us what you think so far! :smileyhappy:

It's been quiet here. Too quiet.
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I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Tom Jones - Books One and Two

It made an excellent traveling companion, but I'm afraid I stopped listening and turned to other things when it seemed that no one else was reading. Now I might have to start all over again to remind myself of who did what. I do want to find out what happens, and I like the gentle (well, often not so gentle) irony of the narrator.

Everyman wrote:


Laurel wrote:
I'm listening to an unabridged reading of the book, complete with Handel's music. I think I'm half-way through. I think I fell asleep a few times

Time to wake up and tell us what you think so far! :smileyhappy:

It's been quiet here. Too quiet.


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tom Jones - Books One and Two

I've been reading along slowly, since I have limited reading time and too many books to tackle, but I'm really enjoying it after not having read it for, oh, about 40 years. I'm finding that my memory was in some places more based on the movie than on the book itself. For example,

SPOILERS up to about book 8:

in the movie, when Tom is found to have been in the bushes with a female voice, Molly is actually discovered by Thwackum et. al. In the book, she isn't.

In the scene in the inn with Tom and Mrs. Waters, in the movie the seduction takes place over the dinner table in one of the most graphically sensual eating scenes ever filmed as they both gorge themselves. In the book, Tom eats ox (not the fowl used in the movie, but tearing chicken off the bone with your teeth is more graphic than chewing a slice of roast beef), Mrs. Waters eats almost nothing, and the seduction doesn't start until after he has finished eating.

So it's nice to get back to the book to cleanse my intellectual palate!


Laurel wrote:
It made an excellent traveling companion, but I'm afraid I stopped listening and turned to other things when it seemed that no one else was reading. Now I might have to start all over again to remind myself of who did what. I do want to find out what happens, and I like the gentle (well, often not so gentle) irony of the narrator.

Everyman wrote:


Laurel wrote:
I'm listening to an unabridged reading of the book, complete with Handel's music. I think I'm half-way through. I think I fell asleep a few times

Time to wake up and tell us what you think so far! :smileyhappy:

It's been quiet here. Too quiet.





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I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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