The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling Book Summary and Characters, Henry Fielding


What is the summary of the book The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling written by Henry Fielding? Information about the summary, characters, analysis of The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling.

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

“The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” is a novel by the English writer Henry Fielding, first published in 1749. The story is a picaresque novel, following the adventures of Tom Jones, an orphaned child of uncertain parentage who is brought up by a wealthy landowner in the English countryside.

The novel is set in the 18th century and is a vivid portrayal of English society at the time. It explores themes such as class, morality, love, and human nature. The plot is complex and involves a variety of characters from different social classes, including farmers, gentry, and the nobility.

The central theme of the novel is the development of Tom’s character from a naive and impulsive young man into a mature and responsible adult. Tom’s journey is a reflection of the changing social and moral values of the time, as he navigates the complexities of love and relationships, confronts the injustices of class and gender inequality, and ultimately learns to make responsible decisions for himself and those around him.


One of the main subplots of the novel is Tom’s love affair with Sophia Western, a young woman from a wealthy family. Their relationship is challenged by the social and economic differences between them, as well as the interference of Sophia’s father, who disapproves of Tom’s lowly origins. The novel explores the complexities of love and the challenges that individuals face when trying to navigate relationships in a society that is driven by social status and economic power.

Another important theme of the novel is the importance of honesty and integrity. Throughout the story, Tom is faced with various moral dilemmas, and he must learn to make choices that are true to his own sense of right and wrong. The novel suggests that personal integrity is essential for leading a meaningful and fulfilling life, regardless of one’s social status or economic position.

Overall, “The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” is a complex and nuanced work that explores the complexities of human nature and the social and moral values of 18th-century England. Through its vivid characters, intricate plot, and witty narration, the novel remains a classic work of English literature, and a testament to the enduring power of storytelling.

Book Summary

“The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” is a novel written by Henry Fielding in 1749, which tells the story of a young man named Tom Jones, who is abandoned as a baby and raised by a wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy. The novel explores the themes of class, morality, love, and human nature.

Tom is raised as Squire Allworthy’s own son alongside his legitimate heir, Blifil, who is jealous of Tom’s relationship with their uncle. Despite Blifil’s efforts to discredit Tom, Squire Allworthy sees through his nephew’s schemes and continues to love and support Tom.

As Tom grows up, he develops a reputation for being charming, impulsive, and passionate. He has a weakness for women and frequently gets into trouble with them. He falls in love with his neighbor’s daughter, Sophia Western, but their relationship is opposed by her father, Mr. Western, who disapproves of Tom’s lowly origins.

Tom’s relationship with Sophia becomes increasingly complicated when he has an affair with a local girl named Molly Seagrim, who becomes pregnant with his child. Sophia finds out about Tom’s infidelity and breaks off their relationship.


Meanwhile, Blifil continues to plot against Tom and eventually succeeds in turning Squire Allworthy against him. Tom is forced to leave home and embarks on a journey to London, where he falls in with a group of rakish young men and becomes involved in a series of misadventures.

One of Tom’s lovers in London is Lady Bellaston, an aristocratic and seductive woman who takes a romantic interest in him. Lady Bellaston becomes jealous of Tom’s relationship with another woman, and when she discovers that Tom is involved in a plot to rescue a man falsely accused of theft, she betrays him to the authorities.

Tom is arrested and put on trial, but he is ultimately acquitted thanks to the efforts of his loyal friend, Mr. Square, and the testimony of his former servant, Partridge. Tom returns to the countryside and is reconciled with Sophia, who forgives him for his past transgressions.

The novel ends with Tom and Sophia getting married and Blifil getting his comeuppance for his various misdeeds. Fielding uses Tom’s journey as a way to explore the nature of human morality and the role of chance and coincidence in shaping people’s lives. The novel is also notable for its use of humor, satire, and social commentary.


  • Tom Jones: The protagonist of the novel, a foundling raised by Squire Allworthy who grows up to be a charming, impulsive, and passionate young man with a penchant for women and getting into trouble.
  • Squire Allworthy: A wealthy landowner who takes in Tom as an infant and raises him as his own son. He is a kind and just man who values honesty and integrity.
  • Sophia Western: The beautiful and virtuous daughter of a neighboring landowner who falls in love with Tom, despite her father’s objections.
  • Mr. Western: Sophia’s father, a wealthy landowner who disapproves of Tom’s lowly origins and wants Sophia to marry a man of higher social standing.
  • Blifil: Squire Allworthy’s nephew and heir, a hypocritical and conniving man who is jealous of Tom’s relationship with his uncle.
  • Mr. Square: A learned schoolmaster and friend of Squire Allworthy who is known for his pedantry and pretentiousness.
  • Mrs. Honour: Squire Allworthy’s housekeeper and Tom’s childhood nurse, a gossipy and opinionated woman who is fiercely loyal to Tom.
  • Partridge: Tom’s loyal and long-suffering servant, a good-hearted man who is often the victim of Tom’s impulsive behavior.
  • Lady Bellaston: An aristocratic and seductive woman who takes a romantic interest in Tom and becomes his lover.
  • Captain Blifil: A dishonest and cruel army officer who is Blifil’s illegitimate half-brother.
  • Black George: A farmer who is falsely accused of theft and sentenced to death, but is ultimately saved by Tom’s intervention.
  • Molly Seagrim: A beautiful and promiscuous young woman who has a brief affair with Tom and becomes pregnant.
  • Jenny Jones: A servant who is falsely accused of being Tom’s mother and dismissed from her job, but is ultimately cleared of the charges.

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