The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Mischief is Tom Sawyer's middle name. There is nothing he likes better than playing hookey from school, messing about on the Mississippi with his best friend, the hobo Huckleberry Finn, or wooing the elusive beauty Becky Thatcher. Lazy and reckless, he is a menace to his Aunt Polly - 'Tom, I've a notion to skin you alive' - an embarrassment to his teachers and the envy of his peers. But there is method in his badness. He exhibits all the cunning of a magpie when hatching an elaborate scheme to avoid whitewashing ...
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Overview

Mischief is Tom Sawyer's middle name. There is nothing he likes better than playing hookey from school, messing about on the Mississippi with his best friend, the hobo Huckleberry Finn, or wooing the elusive beauty Becky Thatcher. Lazy and reckless, he is a menace to his Aunt Polly - 'Tom, I've a notion to skin you alive' - an embarrassment to his teachers and the envy of his peers. But there is method in his badness. He exhibits all the cunning of a magpie when hatching an elaborate scheme to avoid whitewashing a fence, and an adventure downriver with Huck and Joe Harper plunges the little town of St Petersburg into such an outpouring of grief that Tom is spared the belt on his return. But the innocent adventures end suddenly when Tom and Huck witness a murder in the graveyard. Should they tell of what they saw under the moonlight, when Injun Joe slipped the bloodstained knife into the hands of Muff Potter? Or should they 'keep mum' and risk letting an innocent man go to the gallows?

'Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest of those boys who were schoolmates of mine', Mark Twain wrote in the preface to the original 1876 edition. Inspired by his upbringing in a small township on the Mississippi, and written 'to remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in', Twain's hymn to childhood and the great outdoors remains a classic account of boys on the loose in frontier-era America.

The adventures and pranks of a mischievous boy growing up in a Mississippi River town in the early nineteenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Oxford editions are charming--thank you."--Josephine Treuschler, College of Notre Dame

"This is much-needed publication: as clear, readable text of Tom Sawyer which is affordable also. The textual notes are very good, and Lee Mitchell's introduction is simply splendid."--Randal Allred, Brigham Young University--Hawaii

"A very readable text."--E.N. Feltskog, University of Wisconsin

"Important and useful to have a new scholarly edition of what is more than a preface to Huckleberry Finn."--Benjamin S. Lawson, Albany State College

"A welcome addition to an impressive, attractive series."--Kenneth Lee Taylor, University of Maine at Presque Isle

"A very well-edited text."--Robert Barton, Rutgers University

"Excellent and handsome."--Benjamin Franklin, University of South Carolina

"Lee Mitchell's introduction is a valuable contribution to criticism."--Robert Reyan, University of Pennsylvania

School Library Journal - Audio
02/01/2014
Gr 7 Up—Two American classics transport listeners to Twain's Missouri with the mischievous antics of Tom Sawyer and the less savory, but equally appealing, jaunts of Huckleberry Finn. With characters drawn from his hometown, Twain's tales reveal the 19th-century culture, yet remain current. The boys' conquests range from Tom saving himself and his delicate sweetheart from a deep cave to Huck rafting down the Mississippi with a runaway slave and two con men. While far from perfect, the titular teens are never mean-spirited, and their misbehavior is often humorous. Narrator Eric G. Dove takes on roles from sweet, young Becky Thatcher to mean Injun Joe with clear dialect and country accents. This high-quality sound recording is a natural way to introduce Twain to students with one caution: the N-word, common in that era, is found in both novels. These recordings are useful additions to middle and high school libraries and solid components in any public library collection.—Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578152681
  • Publisher: Media Books, L. L. C.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.18 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835–1910), American writer and humorist, whose best work is characterized by broad, often irreverent humor or biting social satire. Twain's writing is also known for realism of place and language, memorable characters, and hatred of hypocrisy and oppression.

William Dufris has been nominated nine times as a finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award and has garnered tweny-one Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which also named him one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century.

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"TOM!"

No answer.

"Tom!"

No answer.

"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"

No answer.

The old lady puffed her spectacles down and looked over them and about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service-she could have seen through a pair of stovelids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:

"Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll--"

She did not finish, for by this time she was bending down and punching under the bed with the broom, and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with. She resurrected nothing but the cat.

"I never did see the beat of that boy!"

She went to the open door and stood in it and looked out among the tomato vines and "jimpson" weeds that constituted the garden. No Tom. So she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance and shouted:

"Y-o-u-u Tom!"

There was a slight noise behind her and she turned just in time to seize a small boy by the slack of his roundabout and arrest his flight.

"There! I might 'a' thought of that closet. What you been doing in there?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. What is that truck?"

"I don't know, aunt."

"Well, I know. It's jam-that's what it is. Forty times I've said if you didn't let that jam alone I'd skin you. Hand me that switch."

The switch hovered in theair-the peril was desperate

"My! Look behind you, aunt!"

The old lady whirled round, and snatched her skirts out of danger, The lad fled on the instant, scrambled up the high board fence, and disappeared over it.

His aunt Polly stood surprised a moment, and then broke into a gentle laugh.

"Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can't learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is, But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's A down again and I can't hit him a tick. I ain't doing my duty by that boy, and that's the Lord's truth, goodness knows, Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I'm a laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he's my own dead sister's boy, poor thing, and I ain't got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart breaks. Well-a-well, man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it's so. He'll play hockey this evening,* and I'll just be obleeged to make him work, to-morrow, to punish him, It's mighty hard to make him work Saturdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and Ive got to do some of my duty by him, or I'll be the ruination of the child."

Tom did play hookey, and he had a very good time. He got back home barely in season to help Jim, the small colored boy, saw next-day's wood and split the kindlings before supper-at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did three-fourths of the work. Torn's younger brother (or rather half-brother) Sid was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet boy, and he had no adventurous, troublesome ways.

While Tom was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep-for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. Like many other simple-hearted souls, it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy, and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of tow cunning. Said she:

"Tom, it was middling warm in school, warn't it?"

"Yes'm."

"Powerful warm, warn't it?"

"Yes,m."

"Didn't you want to go in a-swimming, Tom?"

A bit of a scare shot through Tom--a touch of uncomfortable suspicion. He searched Aunt Polly's face, but it told him nothing. So he said:

"No'm--well, not very much."

The old lady reached out her hand and felt Tom's shirt, and said:

"But you ain't too warm now, though." And it flattered her to reflect that she had discovered that the shirt was dry without anybody knowing that that was what she had in her mind. But in spite of tier, Tom knew where the wind lay, now. So he forestalled what might be the next move:

"Some of us pumped on our hcads--mine's damp yet. Sec?"

Aunt Polly was vexed to think she had overlooked that bit of circumstantial evidence, and missed a trickThen she had a new inspiration:

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Table of Contents

Contents
Introduction

  1. Tom Plays, Fights, and Hides
  2. The Glorious Whitewasher
  3. Busy at War and Love
  4. Showing Off in Sunday School
  5. The Pinch Bug and His Prey
  6. Tom Meets Becky
  7. Tick-Running and a Heartbreak
  8. A Pirate Bold to Be
  9. Tragedy in the Graveyard
  10. Dire Prophecy of the Howling Dog
  11. Conscience Racks Tom
  12. The Cat and the Painkiller
  13. The Pirate Crew Set Sail
  14. Happy Camp of the Freebooters
  15. Tom's Stealthy Visit Home
  16. First Pipes — "I've Lost My Knife"
  17. Pirates at Their Own Funeral
  18. Tom Reveals His Dream Secret
  19. The Cruelty of "I Didn't Think"
  20. Tom Takes Becky's Punishment
  21. Eloquence — and the Master's Gilded Dome
  22. Huck Finn Quotes Scripture
  23. The Salvation of Muff Potter
  24. Splendid Days and Fearsome Nights
  25. Seeking the Buried Treasure
  26. Real Robbers Seize the Box of Gold
  27. Trembling on the Trail
  28. In the Lair of Injun Joe
  29. Huck Saves the Widow
  30. Tom and Becky in the Cave
  31. Found and Lost Again
  32. "Turn Out! They're Found!"
  33. The Fate of Injun Joe
  34. Floods of Gold
  35. Respectable Huck Joins the Gang
    Literary Allusions and Notes
    Critical Excerpts
    Mark Twain on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
    Suggestions for Further Reading
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First Chapter

Chapter I: Tom Plays, Fights, and Hides "Tom!"

No answer.

"Tom!"

No answer.

"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You, TOM!"

No answer.

The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service -- she could have seen through a pair of stove lids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:

"Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll -- "

She did not finish, for by this time she was bending down and punching under the bed with the broom, and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with. She resurrected nothing but the cat.

"I never did see the beat of that boy!"

She went to the open door and stood in it and looked out among the tomato vines and "jimpson" weeds that constituted the garden. No Tom. So she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance, and shouted:

"Y-o-u-u, Tom!"

There was a slight noise behind her and she turned just in time to seize a small boy by the slack of his roundabout and arrest his flight.

"There! I might 'a' thought of that closet. What you been doing in there?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. What is that truck?"

"I don't know, aunt."

"Well, I know. It's jam -- that's what it is. Forty times I've said if you didn't let that jam alone I'd skin you. Hand me that switch."

The switch hovered in the air -- the peril was desperate --

"My! Look behind you, aunt!"

The old lady whirled round, and snatched her skirts out of danger. The lad fled, on the instant, scrambled up the high board fence, and disappeared over it.

His aunt Polly stood surprised a moment, and then broke into a gentle laugh.

"Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can't learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is. But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's all down again and I can't hit him a lick. I ain't doing my duty by that boy, and that's the Lord's truth, goodness knows. Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I'm a-laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he's my own dead sister's boy, poor thing, and I ain't got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks. Well-a-well, man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it's so. He'll play hooky this evening, and I'll just be obleeged to make him work, tomorrow, to punish him. It's mighty hard to make him work Saturdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and I've got to do some of my duty by him, or I'll be the ruination of the child."

Tom did play hooky, and he had a very good time. He got back home barely in season to help Jim, the small colored boy, saw next day's wood and split the kindlings before supper -- at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did three-fourths of the work. Tom's younger brother (or rather, half brother), Sid, was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet boy and had no adventurous, troublesome ways.

While Tom was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep -- for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. Like many other simple-hearted souls, it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy, and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of low cunning.

"Tom, it was middling warm in school, warn't it?"

"Yes'm."

"Powerful warm, warn't it?"

"Yes'm."

"Didn't you want to go in a-swimming, Tom?"

A bit of a scare shot through Tom -- a touch of uncomfortable suspicion. He searched Aunt Polly's face, but it told him nothing. So he said:

"No'm -- well, not very much."

The old lady reached out her hand and felt Tom's shirt and said:

"But you ain't too warm now, though." And it flattered her to reflect that she had discovered that the shirt was dry without anybody knowing that that was what she had in her mind. But in spite of her, Tom knew where the wind lay, now. So he forestalled what might be the next move:

"Some of us pumped on our heads -- mine's damp yet. See?"

Aunt Polly was vexed to think she had overlooked that bit of circumstantial evidence, and missed a trick. Then she had a new inspiration:

"Tom, you didn't have to undo your shirt collar where I sewed it, to pump on your head, did you? Unbutton your jacket!"

The trouble vanished out of Tom's face. He opened his jacket. His shirt collar was securely sewed.

"Bother! Well, go 'long with you. I'd made sure you'd played hooky and been a-swimming. But I forgive ye, Tom. I reckon you're a kind of a singed cat, as the saying is -- better'n you look. This time."

She was half sorry her sagacity had miscarried, and half glad that Tom had stumbled into obedient conduct for once.

But Sidney said:

"Well, now, if I didn't think you sewed his collar with white thread, but it's black."

"Why, I did sew it with white! Tom!"

But Tom did not wait for the rest. As he went out at the door he said:

"Siddy, I'll lick you for that."

In a safe place Tom examined two large needles which were thrust into the lapels of his jacket, and had thread bound about them -- one needle carried white thread and the other black. He said:

"She'd never noticed if it hadn't been for Sid. Confound it! sometimes she sews it with white, and sometimes she sews it with black. I wish to geeminy she'd stick to one or t'other -- I can't keep the run of 'em. But I bet you I'll lam Sid for that. I'll learn him!"

He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though -- and loathed him.

Within two minutes, or even less, he had forgotten all his troubles. Not because his troubles were one whit less heavy and bitter to him than a man's are to a man, but because a new and powerful interest bore them down and drove them out of his mind for the time -- just as men's misfortunes are forgotten in the excitement of new enterprises. This new interest was a valued novelty in whistling, which he had just acquired from a Negro, and he was suffering to practice it undisturbed. It consisted in a peculiar birdlike turn, a sort of liquid warble, produced by touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth at short intervals in the midst of the music -- the reader probably remembers how to do it, if he has ever been a boy. Diligence and attention soon gave him the knack of it, and he strode down the street with his mouth full of harmony and his soul full of gratitude. He felt much as an astronomer feels who has discovered a new planet -- no doubt, as far as strong, deep, unalloyed pleasure is concerned, the advantage was with the boy, not the astronomer.

The summer evenings were long. It was not dark, yet. Presently Tom checked his whistle. A stranger was before him -- a boy a shade larger than himself. A newcomer of any age or either sex was an impressive curiosity in the poor little shabby village of St. Petersburg. This boy was well dressed, too -- well dressed on a weekday. This was simply astounding. His cap was a dainty thing, his close-buttoned blue cloth roundabout was new and natty, and so were his pantaloons. He had shoes on -- and it was only Friday. He even wore a necktie, a bright bit of ribbon. He had a citified air about him that ate into Tom's vitals. The more Tom stared at the splendid marvel, the higher he turned up his nose at his finery and the shabbier and shabbier his own outfit seemed to him to grow. Neither boy spoke. If one moved, the other moved -- but only sidewise, in a circle; they kept face to face and eye to eye all the time. Finally Tom said:

"I can lick you!"

"I'd like to see you try it."

"Well, I can do it."

"No, you can't, either."

"Yes, I can."

"No, you can't."

"I can."

"You can't."

"Can!"

"Can't!"

An uncomfortable pause. Then Tom said:

"What's your name?"

"'Tisn't any of your business, maybe."

"Well, I 'low I'll make it my business."

"Well, why don't you?"

"If you say much, I will."

"Much -- much -- much. There now."

"Oh, you think you're mighty smart, don't you? I could lick you with one hand tied behind me, if I wanted to."

"Well, why don't you do it? You say you can do it."

"Well, I will, if you fool with me."

"Oh, yes -- I've seen whole families in the same fix."

"Smarty! You think you're some, now, don't you? Oh, what a hat!"

"You can lump that hat if you don't like it. I dare you to knock it off -- and anybody that'll take a dare will suck eggs."

"You're a liar!"

"You're another."

"You're a fighting liar and dasn't take it up."

"Aw -- take a walk!"

"Say -- if you give me much more of your sass I'll take and bounce a rock off'n your head."

"Oh, of course you will."

"Well, I will."

"Well, why don't you do it then? What do you keep saying you will for? Why don't you do it? It's because you're afraid."

"I ain't afraid."

"You are."

"I ain't."

"You are."

Another pause, and more eying and sidling around each other. Presently they were shoulder to shoulder. Tom said:

"Get away from here!"

"Go away yourself!"

"I won't."

"I won't either."

So they stood, each with a foot placed at an angle as a brace, and both shoving with might and main, and glowering at each other with hate. But neither could get an advantage. After struggling till both were hot and flushed, each relaxed his strain with watchful caution, and Tom said:

"You're a coward and a pup. I'll tell my big brother on you, and he can thrash you with his little finger, and I'll make him do it, too."

"What do I care for your big brother? I've got a brother that's bigger than he is -- and what's more, he can throw him over that fence, too." (Both brothers were imaginary.)

"That's a lie."

"Your saying so don't make it so."

Tom drew a line in the dust with his big toe, and said:

"I dare you to step over that, and I'll lick you till you can't stand up. Anybody that'll take a dare will steal sheep."

The new boy stepped over promptly, and said:

"Now you said you'd do it, now let's see you do it."

"Don't you crowd me now; you better look out."

"Well, you said you'd do it -- why don't you do it?"

"By jingo! for two cents I will do it."

The new boy took two broad coppers out of his pocket and held them out with derision. Tom struck them to the ground. In an instant both boys were rolling and tumbling in the dirt, gripped together like cats; and for the space of a minute they tugged and tore at each other's hair and clothes, punched and scratched each other's noses, and covered themselves with dust and glory. Presently the confusion took form and through the fog of battle Tom appeared, seated astride the new boy, and pounding him with his fists.

"Holler 'nuff!" said he.

The boy only struggled to free himself. He was crying -- mainly from rage.

"Holler 'nuff!" -- and the pounding went on.

At last the stranger got out a smothered "'Nuff!" and Tom let him up and said:

"Now that'll learn you. Better look out who you're fooling with next time."

The new boy went off brushing the dust from his clothes, sobbing, snuffling, and occasionally looking back and shaking his head and threatening what he would do to Tom the next time he "caught him out." To which Tom responded with jeers, and started off in high feather, and as soon as his back was turned the new boy snatched up a stone, threw it and hit him between the shoulders and then turned tail and ran like an antelope. Tom chased the traitor home, and thus found out where he lived. He then held a position at the gate for some time, daring the enemy to come outside, but the enemy only made faces at him through the window and declined. At last the enemy's mother appeared, and called Tom a bad, vicious, vulgar child, and ordered him away. So he went away, but he said he "'lowed" to "lay" for that boy.

He got home pretty late, that night, and when he climbed cautiously in at the window he uncovered an ambuscade, in the person of his aunt; and when she saw the state his clothes were in her resolution to turn his Saturday holiday into captivity at hard labor became adamantine in its firmness.

\

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Reading Group Guide

1. In his preface, Mark Twain remarks that "Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves. . . ." Do you think Twain succeeds in this "plan"? Discuss the ways in which Tom Sawyer can be read by both children and adults-do different aspects of the book appeal to different kinds of readers? Are different episodes designed, as some critics have suggested, to appeal to different audiences?

2. How does Tom Sawyer relate to the world of adult authority and responsibility? Can he be said to "mature" during the course of the novel, as critics have asserted? If so in what ways?

3. Discuss the town of St. Petersburg, Mississippi, Tom Sawyer's home. How would you describe it? What literary devices or descriptions, to your mind, make Twain's portrayal of rural American life in the years before the Civil War interesting, unique, appealing?

4. Virginia Wexman notes that in Tom Sawyer "we are confronted with two clearly separate worlds. The first world is a light and engaging one . . . where life is played at . . . the world of Tom himself. . . . But there is another world here too, a darker world where actions have real meaning and real moral consequences-the world of people like Injun Joe and Muff Potter." Discuss each of these "two worlds, " and the ways in which they are related to each other in the novel.

5. Discuss Tom's relationship with Huckleberry Finn, from their first encounter, through their subsequentadventures. What do you make of this friendship? Why are these characters drawn to each other? Compare this relationship with other relationships in the novel, for instance Tom's relationship to Becky Thatcher.

6. Discuss Twain's use of particular geographical settings as scenes for episodes in the novel: the river, the island, the cave. Why do you think these particular landscapes are chosen? How do they inform the action of the novel?

7. Tom Sawyer is one of the most recognizable and revered characters in American literature; as Lyall Powers writes, "Everybody knows Tom's story whether he has actually read the book or not." What do you think accounts for the enduring popularity of Twain's literary creation?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 338 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(162)

4 Star

(52)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(21)

1 Star

(59)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 339 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    you should read this book

    This book is about two boys named Tom and Huck. They heard about a treasure buried somewhere. They are trying to find out where the treasure is buried but they have a little problem--other people are looking for the treasure too. Injun Joe is also looking for the treasure and he is the meanest person that no one likes. One night Tom and Huck were walking in a grave yard and saw Injun Joe kill a guy. So now Tom and Huck are scared of Injun Joe. Then Tom ran away to an island because he wanted to try living on his own. Everyone in the town thought Tom and Huck died, but they didn¿t. On the day of their funeral they showed up and surprised all the grown ups. Do they find the treasure? Read and find out. This was an easy book to read because it was short. I liked this book because it had a lot of adventure.

    45 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    THE Adventures Of Tom Sawyer

    GREAT BOOK! YOU SOULD READ IT!

    11 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Captivating Recount of a Young Boy's Adventure Into Manhood

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a very enthralling novel. It is about an imaginative young boy, Tom Sawyer who can be very mischievous but is naturally "good", instead of his half brother Sid, or the novel's antagonist, Injun Joe. He begins the story as a manipulative young rebel, which is demonstrated when he swindles his classmates into whitewashing a fence that he was originally punished to do, in exchange for small treasures. Tom, captivated with stories of pirates and other rebels, leads him and his friends in a series of adventures, from playing battles to running away to an island to create a pirate crew. As the adventures become more serious and dangerous, Tom becomes more and more mature. After witnessing a murder, and testifying against the killer, Injun Joe, Tom and Huckleberry Finn fear for their lives while treasure hunting, and they both display heroics that ultimately result into their "real" maturation into adulthood. Twain, throughout the story satirizes the hypocrisy of most adult institutions, such as the church, Sunday school, regular school and the temperance tavern. He views that adults are hypocritical and pretentious, possessing a certain "false maturity". This "false" maturity is defined by the moral maturity a person or institution has. For example, the temperance tavern, which is not supposed to serve alcohol, has a secret back room that does just that. By the end of the novel, Tom changed from attempting to undermine all authority, into a defender of the respectable adult society, displaying the truest sense of moral maturity, even though he was still not very old. Tom first explores superstitions with Huck, and soon becomes dependant on them. They created so many beliefs that in any uncertain situation, such as when they were in the haunted mansion, they can provide reassurance and confidence in one's self. Rebellion is prevalent within the novel. Tom and his friends commit crimes and disobey their parents, but they never are geared at hurting any other people. These minor rebellions could never lead to worse crimes, because Tom and the boys felt deep remorse only for stealing small amounts of bacon. These rebellious adventures for Tom lead to his praise within the community, like when he returns from Jackson's Island and shows up at his own funeral, only to be greeted with hugs. Injun Joe however, commits crimes that are obviously harmful to others such as murder, and finally dies, which shows that Twain condemns crimes that are harmful to others. I strongly recommend this intriguing book, although at times it can be hard to follow.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Yves

    Read this book in sixth grade and it was ok iguess

    8 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    <3 it

    I realy enjoy this book . If you are advanced in reading and 9-10 this will be a good book for you. If you are older and average in reading it may be interesting but it may not. Here is a quik summary, Tom and Huck go on a big adventure and huck is the boy every boy wants to be. Lucky Tom, he goes on an adventure and be a piarate!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Tom sawyer

    This book is great i love this book

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Rough beginning, good ending

    I had to read this book as part of my summer honors language arts work. In my opinion, the beginning of the novel was rough, but after you understand the slang words and get to know the characters...the novel gets really good. I would probably recommend this book to soone who is 12 years of age or Older. :)

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Anmynous

    This book is so so interesting. It took me awhile to read thow.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    This book is good

    I love this book

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Lunaclaw

    I hav to read this for a test in eigth grade after the summer.

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    jacksob Jackson

    This book is the most interesting book ever. You must read it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Lovely

    My brrother has this book. Its awesome. As my ad said

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    ¿Great|

    I think you should get this book even though it has bad words.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Lol

    Its a comedy

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Anonymouse Anonymous

    Awesome book, all you people should get it. :-)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2011

    A CLASSIC BOOK RUINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I first read this incredible book when I was a little kid before Nooks were even created and I loved it and since The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is clearly a classic I figured it can only be better if I chooose it as an ebook to read to my younger family members so they can see how great this story is too! I started reading a couple of pages and there was some mis-spelled words and so I figured it was only on a few pages but than I kept on reading and it just got worse and worse to the point where I could not not even read it before I just got flat out disgusted with reading a single line because whenever I tried to figure out what the author wrote it made me feel so stupid so I would not recommend reading this particulr ebook be read by anyone else.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    wrong title...this is huck finn

    wrong title...this is huck finn

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2011

    I would not recommend this version

    too many errors in the transcription. I gave up and decided to just read the hardback copy.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2011

    Poor qualitiy edition

    The story, of course, is great. But this edition came through with so many "typos" that I just couldn't read it. I got another copy through Gutenberg...

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2010

    Terrible edition

    I'm sure Tom Sawyer is a great book, but this scanned edition is so full of OCR errors that it's unreadable. Hard to even tell what Mark Twain is telling. Not only are many letters misread and the wrong ones inserted, the book is also full of misread punctuation that results in slashes and other marks which confuse.

    I guess since this edition is free that it's got some value, but it's sure no fun at all to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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