TOM JONES:BY HENRY FIELDING.
DEPICTION OF RELEVANT SOCIAL PROBLEMS:
Henry Fielding has often been called the ?Father of the English novel and he certainly is the father of realistic novel in England. He repeatedly reiterates that he has copied everything from his personal observation and knowledge of nature.
Fielding?s picture of contemporary life is comprehensive and all-inclusive. In Tom Jones, Fielding accurately presents manners; the country life organized round the Squire, the Vicar occupying a less dignified place. While Fielding does not indulge in much nature or landscapes description his settings are always recognizable.
Not only in characters and settings but also in incidents, events, problems and joys Fielding prescribed greater realism for this genre than was prescribed by the epic or the romance when pointed out hat his intention was ?to keep within the limits of not only possibility but also probability?. To really understand Tom Jones and its relevance today, we must look back in time to the 1700?s and the social fabric of England of that time. Based administration, corrupt political situations lower moral values and many more of the like. Though the problems seem similar the situations and its gravity does differ.
The poor working of the law and justice machinery, poor medical facilities, inefficient public schools, low moral values may all hold true in Fielding?s time and would have had some relevance. But, today with so much of advancement in science and technology, there is no doubt that the social problems of then do not exist today.
But, despite the irrelevance in some problems today, there does exist some situations in the novel that can be said to be the problems of today. For example the problems and the insecurities faced by women then does still exist but not to that extent of intensity; for this insecurity is juxtaposed by the quite revolution of the century ---that of women?s representation and subsequent liberation. Both these aspects of women in the society is as relevant as it was then when the novel was written.
Tom Jones is a real picture of social economic and political conditions of England, and the hazy reflection of that society is seen even today.