The Adventures of Tom Sawyer revolves around the youthful adventures of the novel’s schoolboy protagonist, Thomas Sawyer, whose reputation precedes him for causing mischief and strife. Tom lives with his Aunt Polly, half- brother Sid, and cousin Mary in the quaint town of St. Petersburg Unlike his brother Sid, Tom receives “lickings” from his Aunt Polly; ever the mischief-maker, would rather play hooky than attend school and often sneaks out his bedroom window at night to adventure with his friend, Huckleberry Finn the town’s social outcast.
Tom, despite his dread of chooling, is extremely clever and would normally get away with his pranks if Sid were not such a “tattle-tale. ” As punishment for skipping school to go swimming, Aunt Polly assigns Tom the chore of whitewashing the fence surrounding the house. In a brilliant scheme, Tom is able to con the neighborhood boys into completing the chore for him, managing to convince them of the joys of whitewashing. With his usual antics, Tom attempts to catch the eye of one girl in particular: Becky Thatcher, the Judge’s daughter.
When he first sees her, Tom immediately falls in love with Becky. After winning her over, Tom suggests that they “get engaged. ” But when Tom accidentally blurts that he has been engaged before to Amy Lawrence, he ruins his relationship with Becky and becomes heartbroken. One night, Huck and Tom sneak off at midnight to the town’s graveyard, where they are planning to carry out a special ritual used to cure warts. Injun Joe grabs Muff’s knife and stabs the doctor to death. The boys run away from the graveyard before they learn that Injun Joe is planning on framing Muff for the doctor’s murder.
Fearful of Injun Joe and horrified at hat they have witnessed, Huck and Tom vow to keep silent regarding the night’s events. Hurt and angry, Tom assembles a “gang” of pirates: himself, Joe Harper, and Huck. The three boys decide that they have had enough of normal society and run away to Jackson Island, in the middle of the Mississippi River. When the boys are missing, the whole town assumes that they have drowned in the river and villagers drag the river for their bodies. In the darkness of the night, Tom sneaks off the island to return home and leave a note for Aunt Polly informing her that he is not dead.
Instead, he overhears Polly nd Mrs. Harper making plans for their funerals. The boys then wait until the morning of their own funeral, sneak back into town and attend their own funerals before revealing to the congregation that they are alive! After school is let out for the summer, Muff Potter’s trial begins. Tom and Huck are both racked by their guilty consciences, and are made to feel even worse when Muff Potter thanks them for being kind to him. When the trial begins, the defense council calls Tom Sawyer to the witness stand.
To the surprise of Huck, Muff Potter, and all those who are in the audience, Tom divulges all he knows about the murder, naming Injun Joe as Dr. Robinson’s killer. Before the trial ends, Injun Joe sprints out of the courtroom before anybody can catch him. Becky, who has been out-of-town, returns to St. Petersburg and holds a picnic for all of her friends. As part of the picnic festivities, the children go exploring in MacDougal’s cave: a large cave with secret underground passageways.
Unbeknownst to the other picnickers and adults, Tom and Becky lose themselves within the depths of the cave. Deep within the cave, Tom and Becky have lost all sense of direction. With the last of their candle burnt out and no food to eat, the two are aware that they may starve to death. Tom attempts to comfort Becky, and continues to explore the cave’s passages in hoping of finding a way out. Winding down one passageway, Tom sees a man and shouts to him; to his surprise, the figure belongs to Injun Joe! Frightened by Tom’s shouts (and not recognizing the boy’s voice), Injun Joe runs away.
Tom never tells Becky of this incident, for fear that we would cause her even more worries. Eventually, Tom’s persistence pays off when he discovers a tiny hole that the children manage o crawl through and escape peril. Analysis The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is considered one of the greatest works of American literature partly because it reflects so perfectly the culture of mid-1800s America. In a period where thoughts of gold and silver drove men West and industrialization had not yet begun, Twain was able to describe small-town life in detail.
St. Petersburg is portrayed as a small, tight- knit community on the riverfront where the frontier culture and the classic Southern tradition meet. Tom, who is initially portrayed as an incorrigible youth, is able to ake commentary on relative nature of “work” and “play. ” Tom not only loves to fight and play in the dirt, but also has a profound knowledge of human nature that is astounding for his young age. Using his “smarts,” he is able to fool his peers as well as outsmart Aunt Polly and other authority figures.
Tom may behave like a little boy, but he is able to think greater than perhaps any adult. Both Tom and Huck are believers of the mysterious. They believe in witches’ spells, bad luck, and try to cure everyday ailments like warts by performing strange incantations. No matter how far-fetched their ideas sound, Tom and Huck discuss their secret rituals and chants with the utmost seriousness. In one sense, their belief in the unbelievable reflects their impressionability and naivet.
The two boys still think and act with a kind of immaturity, and this scene seems to remind the reader that Tom and Huck are, after all, just children Tom and Becky Their flirtatious behavior can be seen as comical, for both Tom and Becky are not much older than ten years old. Funny enough, their conversation turns from the discussion of chewing gum and circuses to arriage and love. It is ironic that throughout the entire novel, Tom backlashes against authoritative figures, yet in this scene, he is eager to act “adult-like” by becoming engaged.
Twain also seems to imply that adult relationships are more child-like than most think. Tom and Becky feel jealousy and anger; their trivial feuds are commonplace in most adult relationships. Just as the two children in love seem to act like adults, adults in a relationship sometimes seem to behave like children. we also see that Tom truly cares for Aunt Polly. Despite the trouble he ay get himself into, Tom never means to hurt the old woman. “This was worse than a thousand whippings,” thinks Tom as Aunt Polly cries over him.
When he cries and pleads for his forgiveness, the reader is given no doubt of Tom’s sincerity. Similarly, we see that neither Aunt Polly nor Sid is able to realize Tom’s sincerity and his better qualities. Like most other young boys, Tom is attracted to mischief but he is still a good boy at heart. When Injun Joe openly lies and frames Muff Potter for the murder, both Tom and Huck half expect “God’s lightening upon [Injun Joe’s] ead” as punishment. ” they begin to learn that one’s conscience can provide a more powerful form of punishment.
Tom’s conscience slowly begins to pervade his mind, and in an attempt to silence it, Tom visits Muff potter in jail. In fact, we see that Injun Joe is not the only guilty villain; Twain depicts two other crimes. First, there is the town of St. Petersburg, whose inhabitants are quick to assume and punish the innocent. Second, there is Tom and Huck who ignore their conscience and fail to tell the truth. While the town and the boys are guilty of being “passive” in omparison to Injun Joe’s brutality, Twain juxtaposes them to point out that each misdeed is equally serious.
When Tom returns home and sees Aunt Polly crying over his death, he realizes that one of his fantasies of being “dead temporarily” has been fulfilled. Previously, Tom had wished to be dead when he had been full of self-pity. His idea was to make those who had hurt him suffer in guilt and regret for treating him in the wrong manner. He gets exactly what he wished for: Aunt Polly is heartbroken over mistreating him, and even Sid seems sorrowful. But Tom realizes that this scene provides him little comfort, for he feels nothing but pity for Aunt Polly and her sufferings.
When Aunt Polly confronts Tom about his lie, Tom is surprised how his “joke” from that morning could look so “mean and shabby” when seen from Polly’s perspective. Although Tom is not as selfish as Polly first claims, she is correct in saying that the child never thinks. Tom’s conscience kicks in only in retrospect; he often finds himself lost in guilt or remorse for having committed some grave sin or having not told the truth. Part of growing up is learning how to become accountable for one’s actions, a lesson that Tom has not yet learned.
Tom seems to have a good understanding of human nature, with his ability to assess characters and situations. In this chapter, we see the more noble side of Tom when he is willing to take the whippings from Mr. Dobbins simply to save Becky from embarrassment. He does so partly because he knows Becky will forever be in debt to him, but also because he truly cares for her. Meanwhile, the reader is informed that Tom and Becky are missing, lost in McDougal’s Cave.
Again, Tom “dies” for a second time and the idea of the cave as labyrinth for finding oneself comes into play when the Widow says to herself: “Pity but somebody could find Tom Sawyer! ” In analyzing her statement, the reader should be clued that Tom’s adventures within the cave is not only a physical trial, but also an emotional one. It is MacDougal’s Cave where Tom must “find himself. ” One thing that is important to consider is how Tom reacts to seeing Injun Joe inside the cave. Unlike a few days ago, Tom seems less worried that Injun will seek evenge on him.
Despite his own fears, he realizes that starvation is a much more pressing problem. Thus, in the face of peril, Tom learns to overcome his fear of Injun Joe. Tom Sawyer: The young protagonist of the novel. Living with his aunt St. Petersburg, Missouri, Tom has a penchant for adventure and “showing off. ” Constantly getting into mischief, he plays hooky from school and would rather go swimming than tend to his Sunday school lessons. Blessed with an active imagination, Tom dreams to be a noble robber such as Robin Hood or a pirate.
Hungry for attention, Tom is obsessed with appearing noble and obtaining the envy of his peers. However, Tom is extremely clever and possesses an incredible insight on human nature. Throughout the novel, Tom must learn to listen to his conscience and become accountable for his actions Huckleberry Finn: The town’s social pariah. Son of an abusive and drunkard father who left town, Huck has failed to have been raised with any parental guidance or authority figures. Because he can smoke a pipe and never has to attend church or school, he is the envy of every schoolboy and he nightmare of every mother in town.
Huck and Tom often have adventures and both believe in various superstitions. Although disregarded by the “sociables,” Huck possesses a kind spirit and consideration for others Becky Thatcher: The daughter of Judge Thatcher. Becky is Tom’s age and has recently moved into town. Prim and proper, Becky is the opposite of Tom: she has never been in trouble and is used to obeying her mother’s words. With blonde hair and dressy frocks, she quickly wins Tom’s affection and attention.