We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Joseph Andrews and Shamela by Henry Fielding

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1080
  • Category: Novel time

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

The classics, Joseph Andrews and Shamela by Henry Fielding are colorful and comical satires that blend adventure, burlesque bravery, and quick-witted humor while journeying back and forth in time.  Here, the focus will be on Joseph Andrews. The various time tables that Fielding juggles throughout the novel add charm and, at times, difficulty in the keeping pace with the story and its bumpy transitions between chapters.  Yet, Fielding’s charismatic classic holds its own weight by incorporating comedic parodies into these stories built within stories.  It’s almost an epic.

This layering of different stories upon one another is challenging, at times, to follow. As the story unfolds, most often Fielding offers very little transition, if any, from one story to the next.  The author’s ability to create lovable and laughable scenes keep readers’ interest peaked.  Fielding was, in fact, one of the forerunners in using humor and mockery to such an extent while mixing riveting sexual promiscuity into many of the characters.

Timing becomes critical in developing crisis and climax.  Just like Hitchcock, Fielding enjoys tormenting and causing great pain to his heroines.  Yet, the violence is written with slapstick humor and, his potential victims always seem to be saved just in the nick of time, averting disaster.  He, then, with no apparent concern over time or transitioning from one scene to the next, places villains, brutes, and heavys at the edge of danger.  Looking at this from two angles, one could surmise that Fielding believed that good nature is not enough to get by in this world.  He also offered the other end of the spectrum in this characterization by providing a dual ruckus between strength and susceptibility.

The action volleys back and forth with rapid succession as different mini-stories transpire, one after the other.  For example, when Fanny is kidnapped by the ‘roasting squire,’ Adams orates about the importance of holding back passion when necessary.

The challenge of using sound reasoning skills when the flirt of passion overtakes a character is symbolized by Fielding in the ‘scene’ where the two are roped back-to-back, incapable of seeing what the other sees.  Then Joseph suffers, bending at the knees, due to the lust he feels for Fanny. Fielding, in turn, makes Adams speak against rushing into marriage.  Here, Fielding rather masterfully weaves the timing of placing Adams at the right place to get on his pedestal and profess the need to abstain from the lustful encounters.  This usually goes to no avail.

So much time is spent on the road in Joseph Andrews.  The Inn is used as a marker, a signpost if you will, that the author uses to infer a shift in subplot as one story temporarily dies off.  The narrator, who was a bit intrusive throughout the book, tends to take center stage.  The narrator, then, is the catalyst that makes new stories bloom out of seemingly thin air.  The narrator is a pivotal character in Fielding’s use of time.  The narrator, unseen by the world of the story is there to move things along.  Without narration, the shift in time from one story to another wouldn’t be possible.

The role played by the narrator is an acting mediation professional.  As minor characters enter scenes, this is Fieldings way to analyze—almost to death—a rebellion against societies middle class.  It has been argued that, due to the time period of this novel, that the narrator’s mockery is excessive. This excessiveness seems fitting, however, with all the loving and prostitution that occurs.

This wandering journey sometimes appears to have no end in mind.  The wanderers always meet up with near disaster.  It is the character’s underlying concern to protect their private ideals in a corrupted society.  This is especially prevalent at the encounters at the inns.

Fielding is not truly a naturalistic writer and he protects himself from typecasting characters as being too evil with his use of irony and satire.  He moves away from these references by alluding to biblical examples—hoping to play it safe with God.  The timelessness of human nature displays Fielding’s take on contemporary England.  England is full of artificial beings.

Another empowering component of Fielding’s story-telling that adds intrigue is his ability to give just enough information on character background.  Too much information takes away from the rising climax.  He allows his craft for humor and character’s actions to display who they are.  For example, The Pedlar is woven back into the story, toward the end.  Pedlar reveals what he knows about Fanny: Her journey with the gypsies and that there were several Boobys who acted as scholars.

The timing of this scene helps show the depth that Fielding went to in planning this classic. The Parson fell on his Knees and the dreadful Sin of Incest was committed; and the Pedlar was struck with amazement, not being able to account for all this Confusion, the Cause of which was presently opened by the Parson’s Daughter, who was the only unconcerned Person (for the Mother was chaffing Fanny’s Temples, and taking the utmost care of her) and indeed Fanny was the only Creature whom the Daughter would have pitied. The above clip from the novel shows how interwoven the characters are in the story.

Some of this novel, however, is disjointed—clunky—making it difficult to follow, especially the drastic shifts in character and scene that Fielding uses.  The abrupt entry of Chapter IV: The History of Lenora, or the Unfortunate Jilt is an example of one of Fielding’s unclear segments.  The dance ensues and all the seemingly staged bravado from Horatio is too much.  He tries to take Lenora’s hand.  This is almost out of character with the rest of the storyline and all its promiscuous undertones. The insertion of the letter written by Horatio and the response by Lenora is also very odd.

  In closing, Joseph Andrews, is a classic that can handle the test of time.  Part of it is due to his blatant and unashamed use of whores and mistresses. All the weak-kneed encounters that develop add even more intrigue to this stories harsh beauty.  It’s a story that develops and keeps on developing with each new subplot.  Fielding’s mockery and constant humorous stabs at England’s transparency in regard to human character gives this novel such impenetrable strength, mainly for the timing of this 16th century novel, one that will continue to hold it’s classic status.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59