Joseph Andrews By Henry Fielding Summary and Analysis Book IV: Chapter 7

Summary

Fielding inserts a lengthy discussion on the "practisers of deceit" and the attitudes about love that young ladies are reared with. This helps explain Lady Booby's confusion in her relationship with Joseph. She has been taught that the more she loves a man, the more she should "counterfeit the antipathy."

Continuing with the narrative, we see Lady Booby prompting her nephew to try to dissuade Joseph from his match with Fanny — which would further relate the Booby family to "inferior creatures." But Joseph is adamant in his attachment to Fanny, even though Pamela joins Mr. Booby in discouraging him. Meanwhile, Fanny is assaulted — first, by a young gentleman and then by his servant. But "the deity who presides over chaste love" brings Joseph to her rescue. Recovering from the battle — and seeing "the snowy hue of Fanny's bosom," Joseph sets off with Fanny for the house of Parson Adams.

Analysis

Fielding's comments on the way in which girls accommodate themselves to not only the idea, but also the practice of "love" bear on the novel's central theme of deception; by deceiving others, women deceive themselves the most. While Lady Booby clearly wants Joseph for herself (although she deceives herself that she hates this mere footman), her nephew agrees to persuade Joseph to break off with Fanny out of pride for the family. It is disturbing to find Pamela also a part of this vanity and snobbishness; in marrying Mr. Booby, she feels that the name of Andrews is now beneath her social rank. Hypocritical and ambitious beneath her modest exterior, Pamela is now echoing Richardson's original. Joseph's love for Fanny is admirable in its unselfishness and self-control, but Fielding's gentle humor as he describes the confused, sexually aroused pair at the close of the chapter shows that we must not take the theme of chastity too ponderously.

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