*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...
(The entire section is 497 words.)