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Word Count: 2,062
Henry Fieldings narrative Tom Jones brings to life a picaresque journey of a young boy in the English countryside While traveling to London Tom Jones encounters a mysterious old man known as the Man of the Hill The Old Man relates to Tom and his friend Partridge his life story in an interpolated tale which some contend strays from the central plot Many readers fail to grasp the importance of the story in which the Old Man recites The Old Man tells of how he left the study of books to travel through Europe and learn through his experiences Unfortunately his experiences have only taught him to detest mankind Further the Old Man now only studies the divine While his early years were spent seeking knowledge from experience the man now has burrowed himself in a cabin with only books to teach him An intriguing way to view the Man of the Hill scene is to pull it through the ideas of philosopher John Locke and contemplate how they compare Lockes ideas on learning were profoundly set forward in his work An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke pushed forward his blank slate theory which holds that man is created with no innate ideas instead all ideas and knowledge are learned through experience Locke 89 While Fieldings Old Man follows Lockes theory to gain knowledge while a young student his present life finds him living in rejection to any notion of a blank slate To most accurately compare the two works one must first grasp the importance and meaning of the Man of the Hill When this importance is understood only then is the reader able to compare the Old Man to John Lockes beliefs which uncovers an Old Man living in violation of Lockes experience theory The concept of comparing the Man of the Hill to Lockes beliefs is new therefore few solid sources are available on this subject While critics such as Ian
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