Study Help Essay Questions


1. What factors influenced Fielding in his conception and composition of Joseph Andrews?

2. What is the purpose of the Author's Preface, and how well did Fielding accomplish his aims in the light of the guidelines established there?

3. Examine one or two incidents or scenes which you think were influenced in their creation by Fielding's experience as a playwright; what is "dramatic" about the scenes you have chosen, and is there a place for this kind of effect in the novel?

4. To what use does Fielding put his love and knowledge of the classics?

5. Discuss the function of the "digressions" in Joseph Andrews.

6. Discuss the degree of unity or — to use Fielding's terms — "Harmotton, that agreement of his action to his subject" (Book III, Chapter 2) achieved in Joseph Andrews.

7. "I describe not men, but manners; not an individual, but a species" (Book III, Chapter 1). Discuss Fielding's presentation of two or three characters in the light of the above comment.

8. Compare the hypocrisy of Lady Booby with that of Mrs. Slipslop.

9. Do you agree with Fielding that the character of Adams "is the most glaring in the whole"? Give your reasons and discuss the implications.

10. Compare and contrast the attitudes of two or three characters toward "charity."

11. To what end does Fielding contrast town life and country life?

12. "I defy the wisest man in the world to turn a true good action into ridicule" (Book III, Chapter 6). To what extent is this statement the fulcrum of Joseph Andrews?

13. Cite some examples of Fielding's use of the burlesque and discuss the use of this kind of humor in Joseph Andrews.

14. What does Fielding mean when he speaks of the "ridiculous"? Give an example of the "ridiculous" and discuss Fielding's treatment of it.

15. Discuss Fielding's presentation of clergymen; what do you believe to be his conception of the truly worthy man of religion?

16. What kind of picture does Fielding paint of "law and justice" in eighteenth-century England?