Can a reader of fiction from an economically challenged setting identify with the events and happenings depicted in Fielding's Tom Jones?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Certainly, there is much in Tom Jonesthat the modern day reader who experiences economic challenge could understand.  Tom is poor and must revert to specific actions because of his impoverished condition.  Stealing for food, searching for work, and not having a direct and routine path for consciousness in the world are all a part of these realities.  Tom demonstrates that being poor and economically challenged can have an impact on individual behavior and choices.

Yet, one element that a modern reader who is strapped in economically challenging times might find difficult to accept is the comic ending.  In the end, Tom struggles through poverty and then everything becomes well as Tom becomes redeemed. For literally millions of people in the world who are economically challenged, there is no landfall of wealth or no simple stroke of luck in which money is provided.  There are people who still struggle for wealth.  The manner in which Tom Jones' economic struggles go away is something that a modern day person who is economically challenged might not fully embrace or understand.  The ending to Tom Jones' narrative is not something that might not be fully embraced from those who are economically limited.

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