Based on the initial brainstorm on the benefits of the epistolary form, I’ve come to appreciate it. Many great stories have been revealed through multiple perspectives, each layer peeling back to reveal the truth. This is in fact the method by which the law finds truth, as each person’s perspective is skewed based upon their personal history, wishes, desires and perspectives. What could be seen as subjective is now more of a grey area, as is seen throughout numerous topics throughout the novel. For example, Bath is a stop on the journey that creates polar interpretations. To look at this, I have chosen to focus on Matthew and Tabitha. Matthew notes on Bath:
“These, however fantastical, are still designs that denote some ingenuity and knowledge in the architect; but the rage of building has laid hold on such a number of adventurers, that one sees new houses starting up in every out-let and every corner of Bath; contrived without judgment, executed without solidity, and stuck together with so little regard to plan and propriety, that the different lines of the new rows and buildings interfere with, and intersect one another in every different angle of conjunction (Smollett, 99)”
Matthew takes a dislike in his surroundings which I think is an interesting contrast to the usually welcoming demeanor we have come to expect from him. By contrast, we see Tabitha embrace Bath:
“He did us the favour to dine with us, by my uncle’s invitation; and next day squired my aunt and me to every part of Bath; which, to be sure, is an earthly paradise. The Square, the Circus, and the Parades, put you in mind of the sumptuous palaces represented in prints and pictures; and the new buildings, such as Princes-row, Harlequin’s-row, Bladud’s-row, and twenty other rows, look like so many enchanted castles, raised on hanging terraces (Smollett, 107)”
Tabitha is enamored with high class culture as evidenced by her pursuit of a wealthy husband. This is an example of how class and location are linked in the novel. Tying this to the issue of the body, I felt that looking at this novel through Matthew’s travel was most applicable. He is seeking aid for his body, but this brings up issues of status tied to notions of what is healthy. Many of are clearly foreign to us in the modern age, and I believe its something taken for granted.