Discuss the use of satire in Henry Fielding's novel Tom Jones. 

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Karyth Cara eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Satire plays a significant role in Tom Jones and is evident from the outset. An amusing example is the satire thrown upon the misbegotten notions of propriety and modesty that besought the society and was nicely manifest in Mrs Deborah, Mr Allworthy's "elderly woman-servant." Being urgently summoned at a late hour of the night to attend Mr Allworthy in his bedchamber, and not having a clear reason--whether an attack of "apoplexy" or an attack of some other sort--Mrs Deborah lingered before complying to give Mr Allworthy plenty of time to dress himself (ironic if it had been an attack of apoplexy) and shield her delicate sensibilities, though at the age of fifty-two, as Fielding points out.

She had indeed given her master sufficient time to dress himself; for out of respect to him, and regard to decency, she had spent many minutes in adjusting her hair at the looking-glass, notwithstanding all the hurry in which she had been summoned by the servant, and though her master, for aught she knew, lay expiring in an apoplexy, or in some other fit.