'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
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), best known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an author and humorist noted for the novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which has been called "The Great American Novel") and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among many other books. Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and he spent time as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before finding fame as a writer.
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 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:
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 the air-the peril was desperate-
"My! Look behind you, aunt!"
The old lady whirled around, 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 hookey 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 I've 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. 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. 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 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 hookey 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 lappels 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. Consound 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 bird-like 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 new-comer 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 week-day. 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 yet 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."
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 a fighting liar and dasn't take it up."
"Aw-take a walk!"
"Say-if you gimme 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."
Another pause, and more eyeing and sidling around each other. Presently they were shoulder to shoulder. Tom said:
"Get away from here!"
"Get away yourself!"
"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 a 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.
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.
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.
One of my favorite Twains