Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 497
*London. Largest city both in England and in Europe, where the novel opens. London serves as a metaphor for vice and sham. The innocent Joseph later writes to his sister that “London is a bad Place.” London’s Hyde Park, former preserve of royalty, is a symbolic place associated with vanity, where people parade to be seen. Hyde Park is also the place where the vain widow Lady Booby walks with her handsome footman, Joseph.
Booby Hall. Country house of Sir Thomas and Lady Booby that is the setting for Lady Booby’s and Mrs. Slipslop’s attempted seductions of the innocent Joseph. Each woman masks a lascivious passion for Joseph with feigned modesty. High-born widow and low-born housekeeper, they are Fielding’s opening examples showing that hypocrisy and self-interest infect all social classes.
*Somerset road. Route that Joseph follows to return to his Somerset home in the sequence that makes up the bulk of the narrative. Joseph’s journey becomes a parody of Homer’s ninth century b.c.e. epic Odyssey. Like Homer’s Odysseus, Joseph must overcome obstacles and various symbolic monsters—people such as the robbers who beat him soundly and leave him lying naked and half dead in a ditch on his first night out from London. After a passing coach stops to help when its passengers hear his cries, he is taken to a nearby inn, where he recuperates. There he meets the generous Parson Adams, who pays his bill and accompanies him the rest of what becomes a long and complicated journey.
Inns. Places in which Joseph stays during his journey to Somerset. His first stop, after he is robbed, is at the Red Lion Inn in Surrey—the first of seven inns and alehouses in the novel. The Red Lion Inn—whose very name celebrates the noble animal symbol of England—is a model of hospitality and charity. His next stop, however, at the Dragon Inn, is a sharp contrast; its proprietors are the mean and stingy Mr. Tow-wouse and his dragon-like wife. Another of Joseph’s stops is at the George Alehouse, whose name represents a contrast with that of the Dragon Inn, as St. George is England’s patron saint, who is most famous for performing a religious and patriotic duty by killing the dragon, a symbol of evil.
Trulliber’s parsonage. Of the six clergymen contrasted in the novel, the gluttonous, bad-tempered Parson Trulliber is the most uncharitable, refusing Parson Adams a loan to pay his bill at an inn. Trulliber’s parsonage contrasts with that of Adams, a symbol of his familial and spiritual fatherhood by charity.
Wilson cottage. Somerset home of the kindly and generous Mr. Wilson, who turns out to be Joseph’s father. Wilson and his wife are perfect hosts and turn out to be perfect parents. Their home thus proves to be a perfect contrast to the great Booby Hall.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 231
Battestin, Martin C. The Moral Basis of Fielding’s Art: A Study of “Joseph Andrews.” Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1959. Battestin examines the corrective nature of satire in the novel. A particularly useful chapter examines the quest theme in relationship to the novel’s structure.
Dircks, Richard J. Henry Fielding. Boston: Twayne, 1983. Offers a general introduction to the author’s life and work. The third chapter, “Experiments in Prose Fiction,” includes a detailed discussion of themes, characterization, and structure in Joseph Andrews.
Mack, Maynard. “Joseph Andrews and Pamela.” In Fielding: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Ronald Paulson. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962. Mack examines Fielding’s use of Richardson’s novel Pamela, which inspired Joseph Andrews, noting ways in which Fielding uses the comic mode and his training as a dramatist to create a novel that is far more than a mere parody of Pamela.
Spilka, Mark. “Comic Resolution in Joseph Andrews.” In Henry Fielding: Modern Critical Views, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Spilka shows how Fielding ties the farcical events at Booby Hall to his themes of vanity and hypocrisy to create an artistic whole.
Wright, Andrew. Henry Fielding: Mask and Feast. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. In three chapters, Wright discusses Fielding’s conscious artistry in the narrative of Joseph Andrews, the novel’s relationship to the epic, and Fielding’s use of characterization.
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