The Non-Verbal Implications: Relevance of “the Man of the Hill” in Fielding’s Tom Jones

by Janice Wood

Essay, Tom Jones

“All Nature is but Art, unknown to Thee;

All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see”

(An Essay on Man, i, 289-290)

The Non-Verbal Implication: Relevance of “the Man of the Hill” in Fielding’s Tom Jones

“All Nature is but Art, unknown to Thee;

All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see”

(An Essay on Man, i, 289-290) (Norton 702)

The Non-Verbal Implications: Relevance of “the Man of the Hill” in Fielding’s  Tom Jones

Janice Wood

Fielding’s mastery of the unspoken/non-verbal implications in Tom Jones is perhaps one of its greatest assets; however, over many years of critical analysis this intriguing quality has been basically overlooked, especially concerning the significance of “the Man of the Hill.” What has been implied about “the Man of the Hill” (Fielding 285-320) has, up until now, not been truly recognized as an essential function of the novel. One such critic, R.S. Crane, claims there is not much significance in the segment of the old man by writing, “There are not infrequent longueures, notably in the Man of the Hill’s story (whatever positive values this may have)” (695). On the contrary, subtlety, though not initially apparent in the story, is the sublime mystery speaking to the more fertile imagination. Since there have been comments on several other, more apparent unspoken/non-verbal implications in the text, such as Dowling’s blackmailing of Blifil, the undoing of Mr. Blifil by his brother, also of Tom’s prostitution with Mrs. Bellaston and, in payment receiving fifty pounds the first night he meets her, yet very little insight has been given on the unspoken/non-verbal implication relevance of “the Man of the Hill” as an element of complication and development of plot. We shall, therefore, explore “the Man of the Hill” representing an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication in three ways, as part of the structure, location on the road, and location in the text.

. “[T]he Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication as part of the structure. When Watt writes, “Fielding’s primary aim is certainly not to reveal character through speech and action” (264), one is aware that whatever the motivation behind Fielding’s style of writing the architecture of the novel must begin in the plot. Structurally, Fielding’s Tom Jones has the individual as less important than the whole utilizing the neo-classicism structure. Ian Watt writes of the individual character, “society and the large order which it represents must have priority” (271). The character of the old man must represent more than just one person. He must be the universal hurt and the disenfranchised of the entire society as part of the whole.  Watt further writes, “as a kind of magnet [the plot] that pulls every individual particle out of the random order brought about by temporal accident and human imperfection and puts them all back into their proper position (271). Likewise, R.S. Crane writes about the “system of actions” (689) in his criticism, “The Plot of Tom Jones”, he writes, “Fielding might have had fully developed in his mind before writing a word of Tom Jones” (689). Yet Crane and others see the old man segment as an extrinsic factor, an intrusion ill-placed with no intrinsic qualities of no non-verbal implied inferences to benefit the story. This seems ironic because he and Watt among others acknowledge Fielding’s plot follows the extrinsic format of neo-classicism. Fielding works from the external using a neo-classic structure strategy where plot acts like a “magnet” (Watts 271) pulling the iron particles (characters) into place. Surely conjecture on the conceivability that the inclusion of the “Man of the Hill” as a vital pivotal component in the novel has been overlooked.

“The Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication from a location on the road. Tom is on a journey on an open road where all of humanity passes. One must assume that any meeting is by chance supposedly from the reader’s viewpoint. What Tom experiences, in his quest on the open road, in his encounters are a variety of members of society he could not have met in his village, nor receive certain information from about other types of society. It is supposedly not just coincidental that this information is somewhat parallel of the types of individuals he meets (of which some types he knows from childhood), but a forewarning of experiences (and types of society) he is to encounter just as the “universal hero of folk tale and myth” (Norton 576) receives from warnings of prophecy. The old man is, therefore, setting the groundwork for “individual particle[s]” (Watt 271) to be placed into “their proper position” (271). This is just before Upton where many of the characters come together from Tom’s past, and several from the future. The placement of the old man in the center of the book takes Tom up a hill where in one direction he can turn to Sometshire, and the other towards Upton, and London.  One would surmise, therefore, that the meeting between Tom and the old man serves as a definite function of the novel should not be lightly dismissed. If as Rexroth states, that Tom is the “universal man” found in myths in general, then “the Man of the Hill” should be seen as a universal representation as well. There is one who foretells or relates prophecy concerning the fate of the “hero” as the forewarning. Fielding places a warning at the beginning of Book X, chapter one advising the reader and critics not to question his plot, although according to Watt, in Preston’s estimation, Fielding is not to be taken too seriously in his narrator’s role when boasting. Preston quotes Fielding when he writes:

First, then, we warn thee not too hastily to condemn any of the incidents in                        this our history, as impertinent and foreign to our main design, because                          thou dost not immediately conceive in what manner such incident may                         conduce to that design […] without knowing the manner in which the                           whole is connected, and before he comes to the final catastrophe, is most                                     presumptuous absurdity. (Preston 703)

Finally, “The Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication from a location in the text. As a recluse, the messenger with a removed-from-this-world-of-society appearance is the futuristic image of what could become Tom Jones. William Empson explains the non-verbal implicational value of   “ [t]he Man of the Hill” as essential when he writes in his criticism of Tom Jones:

All the critics call the recital of the Old Man irrelevant, though Saintsbury labors to excuse it; but Fielding meant to give a survey of all human experience (that is what he meant by calling the book an epic) and the Old Man provides the extremes of degradation and the divine ecstasy which Tom has no time for; as part of the structure of the ethical thought he is essential to the book, the keystone at the middle of the arch. (Norton 717)

While Tom and the old man talk the entire night ‘til dawn, Partridge is overcome with sleep. He expresses no interest, and is too tired to take a walk with Tom and “the Man of the Hill”. How convenient that Partridge should refuse the invitation from the old man who directs Tom to a halfway point between the past and the future at the top of a hill. There ensues the first instance where Tom encounters Jenny Jones/Mrs. Waters, and without Partridge. If Partridge had been present, Tom would have found out she was accused of being his mother, and quite possibly, through Jenny herself, who his real mother was. This bit of news would have changed the plot occurring too soon. If this had happened, several “system of actions” (689) would have no placement in the story, nor the plot.

One must conclude that due to subsequent writings and change in the novel by Fielding that if the old man had no credibility, he would have removed it during one of those revisions. Since it remains, it must be therefore a function of the novel serving an unspoken/nonverbal balance in the scheme of the universe of the book.

Work Cited

Crane, R. S. “The Plot of Tom Jones”. Tom Jones The Authoritative Text Contemporary                                      Reactions Criticisms.  Sheridan Baker, Ed. New York: W. W. Norton. 1995.

Empson, William. “Tom Jones”. Tom Jones The Authoritative Text Contemporary                                            Reactions Criticisms. Sheridan Baker, Ed. New York: W. W. Norton. 1995.                               711-731.

Fielding, Henry. Tom Jones The Authoritative Text Contemporary Reactions                                                  Criticisms.  Sheridan Baker, Ed. New York: W. W. Norton. 1995.

Hilles, Frederick W. “Art and Artifice in Tom Jones”. Tom Jones The Authoritative Text                             Contemporary Reactions Criticisms.  Sheridan Baker, Ed. New York: W. W.                              Norton. 1995. 786-800.

Preston, John. “Plot as Irony: The Reader’s Role”. Tom Jones   The Authoritative Text                                Contemporary Reactions Criticisms. Sheridan Baker, Ed. New York: W. W.                              Norton.  1995. 699-710.

Rexroth, Kenneth. “Tom Jones”. Tom Jones The Authoritative Text Contemporary                                  Reactions Criticisms. Sheridan Baker, Ed. New York: W. W. Norton. 1995.                               675-677.

Watt, Ian. Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding.                                                         Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957.

Outline

The Unspoken:

Relevance of “the Man of the Hill” in Fielding’s Tom Jones

Janice Wood

Fielding’s mastery of the unspoken/non-verbal implications in Tom Jones is perhaps one of his greatest assets in the success of the book because what has been unspoken about “the Man of the Hill” (285-320) has, up until now, not been examined thoroughly as a true necessity in the novel.

We shall, therefore, explore “the Man of the Hill” representing an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication in three ways, as part of the structure, location on the road, and location in the text.

  1. “the Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication as part of the structure.
  2. When Watt writes, “ Fielding’s primary aim is certainly not to reveal character through speech and action” (Watt 264), one is aware that whatever the motivation behind Fielding’s style of writing the architecture of the novel must begin in the plot.
  3. Structurally, Fielding’s Tom Jones has the individual as less important than the whole utilizing the neo-classicism structure.
  4. Yet Crane and others see the old man segment as an extrinsic factor, an intrusion ill-placed with no intrinsic qualities of no non-verbal implied inferences to benefit the story.
  5. “the Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication from a location on the road.
  6. Tom is on a journey on an open road where all of humanity passes. One must assume that any meeting is by chance supposedly from the reader’s viewpoint.
  7. It is supposedly not just coincidental that this information is somewhat parallel of the types of individuals he meets (of which some types he knows from childhood), but a forewarning of experiences (and types of society) he is to encounter just as the “universal hero of folk tale and myth” (Norton 576) receives from warnings of prophecy.
  8. If as Rexroth states, that Tom is the “universal man” found in myths in general, then “the Man of the Hill” should be seen as a universal representation as well. There is one who foretells or relates prophecy concerning the fate of the “hero” as the forewarning.
  • “the Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of plot via the unspoken/non-verbal implication from a location in the text.
  1. As a recluse, the messenger with a removed-from-this-world-of-society appearance is the futuristic image of what could become Tom Jones, if.
  2. While Tom and the old man talk the entire night ‘til dawn, Partridge is overcome with sleep.
  3. This bit of news would have changed the plot occurring too soon. If this had happened, several “system of actions” (689) would have no placement in the story, nor the plot.
  4. Both were betrayed “ A treacherous friend is the most dangerous enemy; and I will say boldly, that religion and virtue have received more real discredit from hypocrites than the wittiest profligates or infidel could ever cast upon them” (III, iv)

Both each had a brother.

  1. They each experience such treatments from “Envy, Malice, Treachery, Cruelty, with every species of Malevolence” (290).
  2. “[T]he Man of the Hill” represents an element of complication and development of the plot.
  3. Tom acquires Prudence. The old man acquires a “suspious Temper” (289).
  4. Their appearances show the old man shun society and Tom’s “You are a human Creature then? –Well perhaps you are” (289).
  5. Prison
  6. Death Judgement
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Words Speak Life! Death!

Words Have Life…

by Janice Wood

Words have life. Words are a form of communication where ideas are applied creating sensations, imagery, even creating reality for the reader or listener just by tapping the imagination. In order to be clearly understood, communication must be effective. Effectiveness in communication through any language cannot be happenstance; it must be precise in conveying a message, any message. For many writers, words are chosen, not merely randomly used because that was the first choice. Word choice perhaps creates an impression, delivering a concise meaning. I want to be such a writer, or speaker.

I hope to become a deliberate communicator. One who chooses words concisely and delivers message after message in many different styles. I would like to carry readers on a journey, into a world of thought far beyond the confines of the present. Delivering readers into thoughts seeing cloudiness, of rays of sunshine or into depths of blues and grays where one can see a myriad of colors in another’s life. I would like to take the reader to a place where the colors represent intensities of emotion or degrees of shadows in clear perceptions and vivid understanding.

While studying various theories and the people who wrote literary works more closely as a graduate student, I will look for proof and not just see on face value. To question the assumption that the writer’s words were somehow magically picked from some divine intervention, but struggled for and rewarded. Then again through examination, maybe that is what I will conclude in the end, but not haphazardly.

Words have life. The journey into the realm of expression is of such possibility where words become life and revolving around the universe seeding reality within it’s pages. The power of the spoken and read word cannot be denied. Such influence can summon up the existence one lives. Words are truly so powerful that one must chose carefully how one paints not just a picture, but a journey through many worlds.

Speak with caution. Remember your words create life and death, if not in others, in yourself. You really do manifest your successes, or failures in that very moment when you feel, literally feel powerful, or weakness. When that emotion is raw and is being born… There are moments when you really do create unaware and sometimes, too late.

That Quiet Roar…

That quiet roar of the Inner Voice

by Janice Wood

 

I thought today how funny it all is

The effort, the expense of energy

To change things against all odds.

I thought today how strange the world

Is behaving when it seems we have

Lost our way.

I had forgotten, too.

 

there is always another solution.

We just reach out and want to believe

That it is up to us.

We want to believe that it is up to us.

Have we all forgotten our sense?

Have we all abandoned our inner voice?

That sound

 

that always speaks to you when we ask a question?

Do we listen to the answer and ignore it?

Do you still hear it- Or is it drowned

Out under today’s distractions?

I had forgotten to listen

What reminded me was

I remembered I was missing

Something…

 

I went searching.

I went on a quest.

I could tell no one because I could not remember what I

was searching for. So I,

Went to the market;

I went to the shoe store;

I went to church. I went to school

I visited friends.

 

I waited for someone to remind me.

I went everywhere. I even visited other countries.

Then once in a dream, I heard someone

Speak my name, I awakened, I remembered.

that cold hearted bitch

that cold hearted bitch © 2014

Janice Wood

 

that cold hearted bitch

would just stand there

and watch you cry.

 

that  cold hearted bitch

could just stand there

and  not make a move

to console,

to give into you.

 

under all that apparent rejection

stands one so afraid to hold you,

one who is in fear of showing

emotions like love.

 

it would then mean

that she is weaker for you

than she wants you to know.

 

she cannot tell you why,

she does not know,

fear has its grip on her

manipulating her

and she does not know,

 

but you do not see either,

that her love, her fear,

has her

prisoner.

 

You cannot see that she has to

Work it out,

That she has to forgive and love

Herself  beyond,

Or that

 

What you see is

that cold hearted

bitch!

Now at this Moment

Now at this Moment

Janice Wood

Now at this Moment,

I awakened with music singing,

and dancing in my heart!

and you whoever you are, were

dancing with me.

We were in synch with the beat,

Swinging, step for step,

What a way to wake up!

Music in my heart,

such a wonderful feeling,

I actually woke up dancing…,

My hand, my feet, my toes,

Moving, dancing happiness with

Pleasant anticipation…

 

Sometimes, you have to remind yourself….

Wake up!  Hey!  You have been sleeping for 27 years.

 

Start dreaming the right way!

 

It was one of those grey days. The entire texture of the “ being outside” involved  layers of the lightest gray to in-between the darkest of gray. Even the clouds displayed a palette of unimaginable with the backdrop of light shimmering through behind the clouds exposing the various borders of separation , some were wavy, some circular, some curves, some even square, and there was even more shapes, different shapes.  The only thing is… you would have to look up to see the lights shinning through the grays to grasp, to actually appreciate…

There are times when you want to remember something, but you did not record it; did not put it down for memory. How is it that on those days, you want to talk to the World as if you have something quite profound to say.

I need to wake up from this dream before Mickey arrives and tells me how dismal everything was and is, before she breaks up with me…

( Character creation… working on something here, just wanted to share it with you. )

 

 

She Loved Him, Then…

She Loved him, Then

by Janice Wood

 

She loved him , then

They talked as lovers often do—

  soft and cooingly, touching and gently,

about dreams, about plans for the future,

sharing ideas and thoughts shared with no one else…,

scenarios for the future and in the event of…

She spoke of desires, and knowing

a feeling of having been with someone for

forty , or fifty years, and what it would be like.

He mentioned his desire for the finality of his life.

Cremation and her task in sending him on his way.

Of having his ashes fill the air

and spreading out over the waters of the tri-rivers’ neck

She loved him, then.

On what would have been their tenth anniversary,

someone mailed his ashes to her.

He never made any changes.

They only lasted three years.

Infidelity, over and over.

Instead, she flushed the toilet….