Book 4 Chapter 10 of Tom Jones.

This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones over the course of four years.

So, word finally comes back to Sophia that Moll Seagrim is pregnant, and Squire Western is certain that Tom is the father. I like the hungry parson in this chapter, as he seems overly concerned with roast beef, which is a fine pastime. Also, Western's language in front of the Parson is simply ridiculous! Within a few sentences, he uses "'zooks" (which, is a contraction of the archaism "gadzooks" ie "God's hooks," ie the nails used in the Crucifiction), "damn," and "bitch" within the span of a few sentences. I was surprised that "zooks" was not censored in the text, as it was a pretty big deal to use that term, along with "znails" and "zounds" (which certainly gets censored in other places, among them Tristram Shandy). Anyway, the tone I use to censor words is 440 Hz, or A above middle C.

There's one more thing I want to touch on in this chapter, and it's the final sentence, which provides a key for understanding Squire Western. He may be the most boisterous person in the book, but he's not completely hollow. When Sophia won't play harpsichord for him at night, he's so afraid of being lonely that he invites a local farmer to drink with him, so that he won't be alone with himself. It's kinda sad.

AuthorMark Turetsky