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Sophia Western

Sophia Western

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Published by wehan

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Published by: wehan on Apr 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Sophia Western – a Model of a Modern Female
Sophia Western is the main female character in The History of Tom Jones:A Foundling. She is a kind of a new type of female figure in literature who possesses new personal qualities which were not present in the characters of previous women in literaryworks (ex. Pamela). Sophia is a beautiful girl and there is no one who would not be charmedwith her appearance or with her personality. Her personal qualities are comparable to her  beauty. She is warm-hearted, awesome, generous. She is the feminine ideal of those times.Sophia has been living in the house of her aunt, Mrs. Western, who was very educated andworldly-wise. Sophia is coming back home to keep running the household of her father. Sheis an obedient daughter, she does everything possible to cheer her father and she does notcontradict him. But, many things change when she falls in love with Tom Jones and their loveis uncovered. In these, sometimes extreme, situations are arisen her qualities which areconsidered to be modern in the point of view of women’s position in society. Differentcharacteristics can be seen in relationships with her father Squire Western, with her aunt Mrs.Western and with Tom Jones. The development of these qualities is seen throughout thenovel, from the most noteless expressions to the more visible ones. Situations which give the basics for the demonstration are mainly the run-away from the house of her father, the eventin the Upton, the conversations between Sophia and Mrs. Western and the final dialogue withTom Jones.In the relationship with her father, Squire Western, in the beginning, Sophia is completelyobedient daughter. She loves him; there is not bigger pleasure for her than to make her father cheerful by playing him some childish song twice or three times. And in the contrary, father does everything she wants; he also loves her like the father can love the most.
Sophia never had a single disput with her father, till this unlucky affair of Blifil, on any account except indefence of her mother, whom she had loved most tenderly, though she lost her in the eleventh year of herage.
For her, the father is absolute authority and it is considered to be her due to be obedient, to listen to him, to make him cheerful. When she falls in love with Tom Jones,she knows there is no possibility that her father would agree with the marriage. When themisunderstanding rises to the situation when Sophia’s father wants to marry her with Blifil,she expresses her opinion about Blifil, but she puts up only little resistance or aversion againstthe violent behaviour of Mr. Western.1
If there is no way how to avoid the marriage with Blifil, she runs away. This step isquite dangerous, but she is led by desperation and love. And
Sophia, with all the gentlenesswhich a woman can have, had all the spirit which she ought to have.
It was needed the greatamount of courage to runaway in the midnight.
All what had led Sophia to this step was theview of unhappy and miserable life with Blifil whom she hates. Sophia is still vexed betweenthe due to obey the father, her wish to rescue her from the miserable life and to save her lovewith Tom.Sophia is certain that she would never marry without the agreement of her father, soshe hope that she shall not marry only on her father’s order when she does not agree with.This Sophia’s opinion is the opinion of really modern woman. It is not the expression of headless rebellion, but she still respects her father, but also herself. Sophia is not only the doll,she knows her value. The extreme situation forces her to make indeed important decision. Her modern thoughts start to appear only after she is faced to the vision of the life full of unhappiness.Sophia has been living in the house of her aunt, Mrs. Western, for three years. Mrs.Western was educating her and for Sophia her aunt was as her other mother. Aunt was veryeducated and worldly-wise. For Sophia, she was also some kind of authority, as her father, shealso has been respecting her. Mrs. Western was the person who caused that the love betweenSophia and Tom was discovered. Even her father and aunt try to persuade her to marry Blifil, both of them with different methods, she does not agree.
"Indeed, madam," replied Sophia, "I  shall never marry a man I dislike. If I promise my father never to consent to any marriagecontrary to his inclinations, I think I may hope he will never force me into that state contraryto my own." 
Sohpia disagree with aunt´s opinions that Sophia´s attitude to Blifil is notimportant because there is important only wealth and Sophia´s refusal will dishonour their family.
"I hope, madam," cries Sophia, with a little elevation of voice, "I shall never doanything to dishonour my family; but as for Mr. Blifil, whatever may be the consequence, I am resolved against him, and no force shall prevail in his favour." 
For Sophia, the wealthmeans nothing, or nothing so important for what she would be willing to spend the rest of her life in unhappiness with the man she does not love.When Mrs. Western saved Sophia from the room where she was imprisoned by her father after he had found her in London, she was trying to persuade her to marry LordFellamar, Sophia tells her about the lord’s try to rape her. Her aunt is indignant, but still spell bound by the wealth of Lord Fellamar. Sophia argues very rationally.
"You will pardon me,
dear madam," said Sophia, "if I make one observation: you own you have had many lovers,and the world knows it, even if you should deny it. You refused them all, and, I am convinced,one coronet at least among them." "You say true, dear Sophy," answered she; "I had once theoffer of a title." "Why, then," said Sophia, "will you not suffer me to refuse thisonce?" ..."Well, madam," continued Sophia, "and why may not I expect to have a second, perhaps, better than this? You are now but a young woman, and I am convinced would not  promise to yield to the first lover of fortune, nay, or of title too. I am a very young woman,and sure I need not despair." 
In conversations with her aunt Sophia shows ingenuity, intelligence and rationalargumentation. Even she respects her, she is able to express her own opinions even if they arein the opposite with the aunt’s ones.In the relationship with Tom Jones the modernity of Sophia is the most visible. Themost important qualities of Sophia which are shown is the activity, candidness, courage, self esteem. The first moment, when Sophia realise the first positive feelings is after Tom wastrying to rescue her little sparrow. She admires many of his personal qualities (honesty,openness, chivalry). but, of course, his appearance plays also its role. In the beginning, her love is only platonic, she dreams about him, she behaves like classic girl in love, but on theother hand she is awaken to the impossibility of fulfilment of this love because of the socialinequality and because she knows her father will never agree with the marriage. And shedecides to never tell anyone about it.However, in Tom’s presence, she unpurposely expresses some little remarquableexpressions of her feelings. This is cased by her incapability to effectuate herself. But actuallyshe does not sit quietly in the corner, when Tom tells her about his love, she tells him she isthe same, not just waits for his another activity.However, after she is forced by her father to marry Mr. Blifil, she leaves the home because of herself and because of Tom. She is not willing to obey father’s order, even she isnot absolutely sure about the correctness of her actions. She wants to rejoin Mr. Jones, butafter she discovers his affair, she stops to be sure about Tom. The strange event in Upton’sinn hurts Sophia the most of all the things. When it happened Sophia stayed for the night inthe same inn as Tom, Partridge and servant Susan tells her, Tom is spending the night withanother woman. She can not believe in it, but after she had sent the servant to check whether Tom is in his bed, and the answer is negative, she takes up her pride and courage, and leavesthe house without meeting with Tom, just with leaving the muff with her name in the Tom’s3

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