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The primary character in Henry Fielding's narrative is Joseph Andrews. The author has skillfully employed Joseph to highlight the book's primary concerns. At his time, Joseph Andrews brings up the question of social class. At the novel's time, Joseph appears to be naive about the lower and top social classes. Lady Booby, for example, believes that if Joseph discovers the privileges of the top social class, he will appreciate her approaches. But, Joseph does not perceive it in this light, believing that it is simply a matter of chastity. Joseph comes from a lower social class, and that is why Lady Booby thinks that he should have a sense of how it is to live on the other side of life (Andrews 39).
Joseph’s social class also places limits on the activities he can access. For instance, some hoity-toity folks in the book are moving around in the village for pleasure when they come across Joseph when he is beaten and left for dead on the road (Andrews 44). The men feel that they cannot share their coach with Joseph though he is a very handsome man. They think of Joseph as a footman who is not worth sharing a coach with because of his lower social class. As such, the lower social class of Joseph seems to influence everything he does throughout the novel.
The events that make up the story are plausible as they relate sequentially with each other and therefore brings out the main ideas of the author. The author's main idea is the need for individuals to control their sexuality. Joseph Andrews is a handsome young man who has interacted with other characters to bring out the need for people to control their sexuality. At the beginning of the book, Lady Booby who has lost her husband makes advances towards Joseph Andrews such as inviting him to her bed when she is alone and naked (Andrews 32). However, Joseph restrains himself and views such advances as evil. He opts to lose his job and return to his country for the sake of practicing chastity.
Joseph then decides to look for his childhood sweetheart, Fanny Goodwill (Andrews 100). However, he is attacked by two highway men who beat him and steal his clothes. A lawyer and his friends help Joseph get to an inn as they see him lying on the road as they are worried that they might be convicted of his murder (Andrews 46). In the Inn, Betty one of the maids also finds Joseph attractive though he is still sick and he does not notice it. Joseph later recovers and coincidentally reunites with Fanny. Their reunion is filled with issues as Fanny is kidnapped by servants from the squire. They finally end up in the country parish of Lady Booby. Although Lady Booby tries to stop the marriage between Joseph and his sweetheart, she does not succeed. Joseph also continues to protect Fanny throughout her stay in the parish. As such, Joseph can defend himself against all the sexual advances until he finally marries the girl he loves, Fanny. Joseph makes the plot of the story credible as he brings out the message of the author.
Use of Setting in the Novel
The setting of the novel also makes the story very plausible to the reader. Joseph is approached by Lady Booby who is his employer. It was almost impossible for Joseph to resist the sexual advances from Lady Booby because he was risking his job at the parish. However, his ability to get through and also oppose the flirts’ comments made by Mrs. Slipslop who is also a maid therein prove the message of the novel. Joseph finds himself in tough times when he is attacked on his way to see Fanny. They also face challenges such as the kidnapping of Fanny and false testimonies by Lady Booby (Andrews 241). The entire setting of the novel brings out the ability of Joseph to control his sexual desires until he reunites with Fanny which is the focus of the author (Andrews 299). As such, the setting of the novel enhances the character of Joseph in bringing out the message.
Andrews, Joseph. Henry Fielding. New York: W.W. Norton Publications, 1959. Web.
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