The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark aTwin is a classic novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. It is set in the 1840s in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived as a boy. Schoolboy, prankster, lover, con artist, adventurer, and hero are all words used to describe Tom Sawyer. He is the main character of the book and often finds himself in a series of unfortunate events, whether it’s being at the wrong place at the wrong time or saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. The book also follows some of Tom’s friends as they make somewhat deplorable decisions that later get them into trouble.
At the beginning of the book, Tom is getting himself into all sorts of trouble. It ranges from raiding his aunt’s pantry to skipping school so he go fishing and even getting into a fight. As a punishment, Tom’s guardian, Aunt Polly, decides to make Tom whitewash the fence the upcoming Saturday. When it’s time for Tom to paint the fence, he trick his friends into doing the work for him. He acted as if painting a fence was a huge honor. He ended up creating a bartering system where his friends would give them one of their possessions for a chance to whitewash the fence.
One day, after walking home from a civil war reenactment, Tom stumbles upon a girl named Becky Thatcher. They immediately fall in love with one another. A few weeks later, Tom proposes to Becky at school. She almost said yes, until Tom mention Amy Lawrence. He told her that he had been previously engaged with Amy, but that didn't work out well. Tom’s comment made Becky upset and she ran out of the room crying. The next few days, Tom tries to show off in front of Becky, but that doesnt work.
One day on the way to school, Tom meets a boy named Huckleberry Finn. They become friends and come up with a plan to remove Tom’s warts. When they meet in the forest in the evening to put the plan into action, they witness a murder. They saw a man named Injun Joe murder a man named Dr. Robinson. Horrified by what they had just seen, the boys ran away and swore an oath of silence. After one more failed attempt at trying to get Becky to like him again, Tom runs away with Huck to Jackson Island. While there, Tom and Huck pretend to be pirates. Then one day, they stumble upon a search party. When they realised that they were the people that the search party was for, they played along and pretended to help search. After a while, the search is calle off and the boys are assumed to be dead. The boys continue pretending to be pirates until they hear about how Muff Porter was accused of killing Dr. Robinson. After hearing the news, and being pent up with guilt, Tom and Huck decide to return home. They walk into their own “funeral” and tell the people where they went.
When the time of Muff Porter’s trial comes around, Tom goes to the court and testified against Injun Joe. He tells the jury that Muff Porter is a good person and confesses to seeing the murder. Muff Porter is excused of any charges against him and Injun Joe is found guilty. But before the court officer can apprehend Injun Joe, he escapes through a window. A few days days later at school, Becky accidentally rips a page in the teacher’s book. Tom takes the blame for Becky which makes Becky stop being mad at him. Then one day during a school picnic at a cave, Tom and Huck run from the group and into the cave. While in the cave, they run into Injun Joe burying his treasure. They report their findings to the townspeople who end up locking Injun Joe in the cave to die. As a reward Tom and Huck get to keep some of gold that they found Injun Joe burying. And Huck even gets adopted by a widow that Injun Joe was plotting to kill.
A major theme in the book is about moral growth maturation. During the first part of the novel, Tom indulges in many pranks and adventures, giving little consideration to the consequences. Fortunately, those consequences never seem to be more serious than causing annoyance to adults. At one point in the book, Tom gets into a fight with a city boy for no apparent reason. At first, they are just bickering, but then Tom starts threatening him. On page 16 he says, “Say - if you give me more of your sass, I’ll take and bounce a rock off’n your head.” Although he doesn’t follow up on that quote, the whole incident shows how childish and juvenile Tom may be. But later in the book, Tom starts taking responsibility for his actions. After running away to the island, Tom and Huck start to feel guilty, so they return to testify against Injun Joe. On page 146, during the trial, Tom states, “Most always - most always. He ain't no account; but then he hain't ever done anything to hurt anybody. Just fishes a little, to get money to get drunk on - and loafs around considerable; but lord, we all do that - leastways most of us - preachers and such like.' Through Tom’s testimony, we can see that he is maturing and starting to do what is morally correct. The author’s message in the book is that if see a crime, it is morally correct to report it to the proper authorities. This is shown in the book when Tom finally decides to testify against Injun Joe because he knew if Muff Porter lost the case, he would have received the death penalty.
All in all, I liked the book. My favorite part was when Tom and Huck attended their own funeral. I liked it because it was nice to see everyone in the church go from being heartbroken to overfilled with joy when they saw the boys standing in the doorway. But my least favorite part in the was when Tom got into a fight with the city boy. I wasn’t pleased with it for two main reasons. The first being that they didn’t have a reason to be mad at each other. They just met and immediately disliked each other. The second reason I didn't like that part was because it was written in a format where is was kind of hard to telling who was talking. My biggest complaint about the book overall is that it was written in the 1800’s, and some of the phrases in the book are hard to decipher. But other than that, I liked the book and would recommend the book to anyone that is into books about romance, adventure, and crime.
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