'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.
About the Author
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 Hartfort, 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.
Date of Birth:November 30, 1835
Date of Death:April 21, 1910
Place of Birth:Florida, Missouri
Place of Death:Redding, Connecticut
Read an Excerpt
"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"
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:
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! 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?"
"Powerful warm, warn't it?"
"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:
Table of Contents
- Tom Plays, Fights, and Hides
- The Glorious Whitewasher
- Busy at War and Love
- Showing Off in Sunday School
- The Pinch Bug and His Prey
- Tom Meets Becky
- Tick-Running and a Heartbreak
- A Pirate Bold to Be
- Tragedy in the Graveyard
- Dire Prophecy of the Howling Dog
- Conscience Racks Tom
- The Cat and the Painkiller
- The Pirate Crew Set Sail
- Happy Camp of the Freebooters
- Tom's Stealthy Visit Home
- First Pipes "I've Lost My Knife"
- Pirates at Their Own Funeral
- Tom Reveals His Dream Secret
- The Cruelty of "I Didn't Think"
- Tom Takes Becky's Punishment
- Eloquence and the Master's Gilded Dome
- Huck Finn Quotes Scripture
- The Salvation of Muff Potter
- Splendid Days and Fearsome Nights
- Seeking the Buried Treasure
- Real Robbers Seize the Box of Gold
- Trembling on the Trail
- In the Lair of Injun Joe
- Huck Saves the Widow
- Tom and Becky in the Cave
- Found and Lost Again
- "Turn Out! They're Found!"
- The Fate of Injun Joe
- Floods of Gold
- Respectable Huck Joins the Gang
Literary Allusions and Notes
Mark Twain on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Suggestions for Further Reading
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?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
I read this book to my 6 year old daughter and she loved it. Keep in mind it's been rewritten and shortened up for a younger audience, but it was a great way to get her interested in the classics. We've read many from the series and have not once been disappointed.
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.
This book is a great read and I would HIGHLY recomend it over 99% of books. I started reading this because my school was doing Tom Sawyer as the play and I got the roll of Huckleberry Finn. Tom Sawyer Totally ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!
Good because unabridged. My english teacher makes us read this book over our week vacation and I left it at school... so this was great!!!
I¿ve been meaning for a long time to read this book, I had heard so many praises about it that I just had to read it and see for myself what the fuss was about. Well, it captured my interest and hooked me from the very first page; it definitely deserves being called an all times classic. I loved its timeless humor and how it often brought a broad smile to my face. I loved the carefree antebellum south rural life it depicted and I often found myself comparing life back in those days and life today. What¿s more, I immediately took a liking to Tom Sawyer and his adventurous spirit, I admired his impulsiveness and cleverness and his bravery. He made me want to get up and have an adventure of my own. Finally, it got me thinking and everyone just seemed much more happy back then. The children were more innocent and looked forward to having fun and playing outside with their friends; Today¿s children prefer to stay indoors and play video-games or watch TV, they seem to have lost their innocence, the very thing that makes them a children. It¿s sad in a way and troublesome; it makes you wonder about the children of the future.
I thought it was a compelling story of romance and mischief. I loved this book so much. I'm so glad I read this book. Tom Sawyer resembles a lot of kids out there and I think it would be a great book for kids. This book had amazing life lessons in it. Mark Twain is a great author he has such a way of telling storys. This book was so amazing I hope you will get a chance to read it.
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. :)
This book is the most interesting book ever. You must read it!
Awesome book, all you people should get it. :-)
Out of my experience of reading this book, I say it is a great book filled with romance, action, filled with lessons for kids, and unpredictable. I read it this year, in fourth grade. And that book made me even more smarter.
I ordered a free sample and evem though I ended up buying it, I still only have the free sample.
This book is so so interesting. It took me awhile to read thow.
I luv this book so much...Mark Twain did a STUPENDOUS job!!! the only thing i didnt like was that the text was a bit mixed up. HINT: H is the equivalent of li in the book. So when the say,.her lip trembled, it ended up looking like her Hp trembled!! But, otherwise, INCREDIBLE!!!
Tom sawyer is a very troublesome boy. He skips out on school and he gets himself into alot of trouble. This story follows the adventures of tom sawyer while he lives in the U.S. I thought this book was very good because the author tells the story in an entertaining way. I think this book is a good read for middle to highschool students. -Matteo Abbz
only problem is text gets jumbled every so often
Tom Sawyer For mischievous events, treasure, and thrills, Tom Sawyer is a good book for you. If you would like a nice story that moves at a steady pace then, sorry kid-o's this won't be a piece of the puzzle for you. Mark Twain, the author, has a tendency to jump from story to story its almost as though he has a slight case of ADD, he can never finish one part of the book up before a new portion begins. Often times throughout this book I did judge his writing style but in the end Twain did leave you feeling satisfied with a sense of completion. Also the author has a sarcastic sense of humor and it shows in his writing style that some parts that are just the simplest and ordinary scenes become intricate and "cheesy". Tom is an average boy but has an edge up on being bad. Tom and his best friend Huck (the town drunk) go to the graveyard to get rid of warts. There, they witness Injun Joe in the murder of Doc Robertson. Tom, Huck, and Joe go on many adventures including becoming pirates, what we would know as boy scouts, and even treasure hunters (better known as robbers). Tom getting into trouble, falling in love, and even doing some good make this book a fun read that can be very enjoyable. This book is a classic and I feel it always will be. I defiantly recommend this book for ages 12-1000. Why? Well this book is great and can bring that mischievous youth out of all of us. But, I feel anyone younger than 12 might not understand some of the story, and anyone older should contact a doctor. If you want more adventure you can also read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. I give this book 4.1 stars out of 10. B+ Written by, Jeremy Hasselhough
its a sweet book that every one shoul read it may not have proper words but every kid must read this book
Our book-club book this month was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. We read it as part of the Alabama Reads campaign to encourage literacy and library usage in the state of Alabama. Some of the members had read it before and others had not. We all found ourselves loving the book. The storytelling is marvelous (I know for those of you already familiar you¿re thinking ¿Duh!¿) and the characters are endearing and who doesn¿t love a bad-boy with a heart of gold. I¿m even contemplating naming my 3rd child Sawyer. It¿s a book full of adventure, friendship, imagination, truth and lies and told in 3rd person from a child¿s view of the world. My favorite quote comes from the scene in which Tom traded his way, through savvy manipulations, to get the free bible but didn¿t know any scripture verses when asked to recite. The book concludes this vignette with the following: ¿Let us draw the curtain of charity over the rest of the scene.¿ Love it!Huckleberry Finn being described as the ¿juvenile pariah of the Village¿, ¿cordially hated and dreaded by all the mother of St. Petersburg and secretly admired by their children¿, and ¿idle and lawless and vulgar and bad¿. Whew, those are some harsh yet colorful descriptions. I hope all families read it. For children the language may seem awkward and of course, dated, but they¿ll enjoy the hijinks of the kids and the adventure. Gotta go now and start Huckleberry Finn:)
Tom is very brave boy.He likes adventure and he can get food on his own.When he met troble, he solve it by himself.I want to imitate his active behavior.
Y'know, when reviewing a classic like this one, I feel a bit like I should be writing a more substantial essay. You know, something like how Tom fulfills the mythological role of the "Trickster" archetype, or analyzing the interpersonal dynamics between Aunt Polly and her adopted children, or something like that. Of course, I don't have that kind of time, not when I seem to be finishing another For Better or For Worse collection every few days or so and have next month's book club reads ahead of me. So I'll simply say that Tom Sawyer is a boy growing up in antebellum Missouri and his adventures are the type one might expect a young boy of that time to have, save that Tom really is a trickster and will outsmart other folks, more often than not. But that's not a bad thing. I tended to root for Tom, rather than start building up a jealous resentment of him. Mr. Twain painted such a human character that I was able to relate to Tom even though I would never have been able to figure out how to get out of whitewashing the fence or get Becky Thatcher to notice me. It's great stuff.--J.
The 100th anniversary of Twain's death is April, 21 2010. Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother, Sid, in the Mississippi River town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. His best friend (buddy) and companion of adventures Huck Finn helps Tom to invent how to avoid school, and get fun night and day. The main themes are: children looking for trouble, adults as adults always do, and humorism tinged with satire. Sometimes Tom disappears in the Huck's shadow, and sometimes Tom and Huck work together: these passages are most successful with Twain's job. For example:Huck: 'When you going to start the gang and turn robbers?'Tom: 'We'll get the boys together and have the initiation tonight, maybe.'Huck: 'Have the which?'Tom: 'Have the initiation.'Huck: 'What's that?'Tom: ' It's to swear ... etc etc The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic book suitable for all ages.
A million times better than "Huckleberry Finn."
Mark Twain's style doesn't disappoint. He writes in such a way that I forget he's even there, between the reader and the story. The dialogue, I think, is the best part; Twain does it so well it's like hearing the characters themselves speak straight out from the pages. Unfortunately, I read this at age 24 and so, by that point, knew the story so well through other venues (Wishbone, tv specials, movies, etc.) that nothing could at all surprise me. But still, I enjoyed it--especially the religious waywardness of its central characters. Just don't know what to make of the talk of, and attitude towards, blacks. Is Twain unconsciously or satirically reflecting the mindset of those times?
I finished my second book in my ongoing mission to read classic literature out loud to my daughter. We started with Winnie the Pooh, and then I settled on Tom Sawyer, since I had recently read Huckleberry Finn for myself; however I think that Milne's series is better for her at this age. I enjoyed reading the story, at least, even if she mostly fell asleep to the monotonous rhythm of my voice.I've read Twain's sequel (of sorts) to this story three times, but never this one. It was an oversight I intended to correct some day, and since this book is considered classic children's literature, and less heavy than Huckleberry, I decided to complete two goals at once and read it to my daughter. The story covers a period in young Tom Sawyer's life, as he hunts for buried treasure (repeatedly), plays pirates or maybe thieves with his friends, runs away, falls in love, and generally behaves like a mischevious scamp of a boy. Most of us know many bits and pieces of this book, as it has become a part of our literary heritage (who hasn't heard of Tom Sawyer's white fence episode), so I will keep my comments to opinions on the story instead of a lengthy recounting of plot.I've always admired Twain's wit, and while Tom Sawyer does not fully demonstrate his skills as a writer, it does bear his characteristic droll humor and cynicism. I think of the passage where he recounts the sentimental school recitations, or his observations of the town's behavior at church. Tom is the perfect vehicle for Twain's tongue-in-cheek observations; a young boy who revolts against social mores because they hamper his freedom. There is much I like about Tom. He is imaginative and clever, he has a sense of honor, like when he takes a beating for Becky, and has deep love for his family despite all of his tricks and manipulations, as witnessed when he sneaks back home to see Aunt Polly after he has run away. I particularly like his devtion to popular romantic literature, and how he twists things around in his naivete. Then again, some of Tom's personality grates on me. He is an arrogant little boy, and like most children his age, can be heartless. He thoughtlessly breaks the heart of the girl he had wooed before Becky came along, and he is merciless to Sid (who, to be fair, can be a little rat). Perhaps Tom's biggest mark against him, though, is that he is no Huckleberry. Even in this novel, which is centered on Tom, I found Huck the more compelling of the two.Still, Tom is a rogue, and I had a good time reading his adventures. I enjoyed the plot, which was mostly composed of mini episodes in Tom's life, and a longer thread involving Indian Joe and treasure in general. I admire how Twain is nostalgically recreating a past and critiquing it at the same time. Just because he loves aspects of his home does not blind him to its faults; on the contrary, he mines those areas for all their dramatic potential. All in all, this story lacks the depth that Twain is capable of, but is a fun story that is easy to read. I was glad to finally have read this mainstay in our country's literature.