Joseph Andrews, a simple, handsome young man of great virtue who, because of his looks and purity, becomes the erotic prey of various women. Discharged from his post as Lady Booby’s footman when he fails to respond to her advances, he leaves London to return to his native Somersetshire and his true love, Fanny Goodwill. On the way he is robbed, beaten, made fun of, and nearly raped. At an inn, he meets his old tutor, Parson Adams, and together they travel home. On the way, Parson Adams rescues Fanny from a brutal ruffian. At home, however, Joseph’s marriage to Fanny is thwarted by a jail term on charges brought by revengeful Lady Booby, the objections of his relatives, and the discovery that Fanny is supposedly his sister. When it turns out that he is really a son of a family named Wilson—the children had been exchanged by gypsies—the marriage takes place.
Fanny Goodwill, Joseph Andrews’ attractive, virtuous sweetheart. Traveling to meet Joseph in London, after hearing that Lady Booby has dismissed him, she accompanies her lover and Parson Adams back to Somersetshire. Her adventures consist mainly of hairbreadth escapes from attackers until she is married.
Parson Abraham Adams
Parson Abraham Adams, an earthy man who loves food, drink, and tobacco. At the same time, he is idealistic and charitable. An absent-minded tutor and the friend of Joseph and Fanny, he accompanies them home, protecting them with his fists and sharing their troubles, and at last marries them.
Lady Booby, a noblewoman torn between her pride of class and her love for...
(The entire section is 694 words.)