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Discuss The Sexual Hipocrasy That Runs Rampant Through The Novel "Joseph Andrews" Using The Character Of Mrs. Slipslop As The Primary Basis For Your Argument.

1287 words - 5 pages

In Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews, Fielding attempts to parody the situations in society that, to him, appear unjust and inappropriate. One of the characters created to endure these parodies is Mrs. Slipslop, an employee of Lord and Lady Booby. Mrs. Slipslop embodies the traits which Fielding abhors about society. Her inappropriate use of language and her uncontrolled sexual impulses when combined with her undeniably misguided devotion to those of status make her the ideal comedic example of society's wrong doings.Mrs. Slipslop can best be described as pretentious. This is evident early in the text with her incongruous use of language. Fielding exaggerates this trait with the use of italics in the many conversations involving Mrs. Slipslop, and at times the characters within the novel have commented on her misuse of language as well " 'Madam,' answered Joseph, ' I don't understand your hard words:"(JA.52)Fielding uses the character if Mrs. Slipslop as a comedic example of those who are sexually uninhibited, or as Fielding would say " the unvirtuous". In the era that the book was written, values and attitudes toward sexuality were in conflict , and Fielding exaggerates Slipslop's behaviour to draw attention to the sexual hypocrisy of society's value systems. To demonstrate this, Fielding's physical description of Mrs. Slipslop is laced with animal imagery representing sexual tension and aggressions." As a hungry tygress, who long had traversed the woods in fruitless search, sees wihin the reach of her claws a lamb, she prepares to leap on her prey; or as a voracious pike, of immense size, surveys through the liquid element, a roach or gudgeon which cannot escape her jaws, opens them wide to swallow the little fish: so did Mrs. Slipslop prepare to lay her violent amourous hands on the poor Joseph". (JA 52) To further exaggerate the situation, Fielding makes use of the irony of women being the unvirtuous. Fielding demonstrates this through the letter written by Joseph to his dear sister Pamela."Don't tell any body what I write, because I should not care to have folks say I discover what passes in our family; but if it had not been so great a lady, I should gave tg iyggt sge gad gad a mind to me. Dear Pamela, don't tell anybody: but she ordered me to sit down by her bed-side, when she was in naked bed; and she held my hand and talked exactly as a lady does to her sweetheart in a stage-play"Fielding also mocks Slipslip's misguided devotion to the class structure. The conversation between Slipslops and Lady Booby demonstrate that Mrs. Slipslop is a person who chooses to seem to be over actually being anything concrete. Her exaggerated misuse of language shows her as one wanting to seem educated and reveals her as one who refuses to recognize the folly of her ways. " I should be sorry to think that your ladyship had any reason to respect me of fondness for a fellow , and if it be your pleasure, I shall fullfill it with as much reluctance as possible"....

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