Tristram Shandy (Cliffs Notes)
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In CliffsNotes on Sterne's Tristram Shandy, you find help in making sense of the complexities of Laurence Sterne's popular 18th-century novel. Filled with humor, lots of twists and turns, and many digressions from the story, Tristam Shandy provides unparalleled insight into humanity, as well as the author's own life.
In this study guide, you'll find Life of the Author, as well as a Character List and an Outline-Key to the novel, which gives you an at-a-glance look at the major events of the novel. You'll also find Summaries and Commentaries on each chapter, plus review questions, essay topics, and a selected bibliography.
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nation." Trim tells them that Dr. Slop is in the kitchen, "making a bridge." Toby says, "Tell him I thank him heartily." But Toby is mistaken about what the bridge is, and in order to explain that, Tristram says he must tell about something that should really come in later. He explains the problems of digression again: if he waits till later, "I ruin the story I'm upon,and if I tell it hereI anticipate matters, and ruin it there." He calls on the ''POWERS" to set up a guidepost to show a
of the tender feelings he experiencesruns riot in the scene where Toby and Trim discuss the injustice of the whipping. Both are very much moved by the remembered scene, both shed tears. Tristram seems to have a sense of proportion about the value of sentiment; just as his father has: Walter approves of Toby when the latter says that he is leaving his fortifications to Trim because of Trim's good heart, but Walter feels that Toby is carrying sentiment too far when he says that he is leaving Trim
Commentary Although a chapter on Sleep contributes nothing to the Shandy family story, it is valid from the point of view of the author himself: he is writing a book that contains "various things" besides Shandy history. The chapter is outside the Shandy history but inside the "Life and Opinions" framework. The third Accident is revealed to Walter as he discovers that there is no one in his house named "Trismegistus." The author skillfully varies the impact of this latest frustration;
author clearly has a plan of organization constantly in mind. The first 14 chapters of Bk. 5. deal with rhetoric on death and with Walter's response to Bobby's death. When that is over with, the author presents the second theme of this volume, his father's scheme for Tristram's education: the Tristra-paedia. In writing his manual for the education of Tristram, Walter has the same problems that his son will have later in composing his Life and Opinions. To put it another way, Tristram has
minifortifications; lead is required for casting cannon; no more lead remains to be plundered in Toby's house; sash weights are a good source of lead; the nursery windows at Shandy Hall are the last used; Susannah didn't know that when she raised the window it wouldn't stay up. And there we have it. As Tristram suggests, how else could one have told this story? When we consider the alternative of straight-line, natural sequence of time narration (e.g., One day Trim needed more lead for cannon, so