“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, analysis of the novel by Mark Twain

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” – one of the most popular works of American writer Mark Twain. The story was first published in 1876. Already in 1877 it was published in the Russian Empire. At least nine translations into Russian are known, the most successful variant is often called the Korney Chukovsky variant.

Twain initially believed that he created The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for adults. The writer’s friends, who heard the first chapters, immediately began to convince him that the book was for children. Now such conversations generally seem pointless, because Twain’s story is equally liked by both adults and young readers. It does not become obsolete, because there is nothing false, false, unnatural in it, but there is magnificent humor and charming protagonists. In the preface to the story, Twain noted that most of the adventures described in the book were taken from life, and he survived one or two himself. Huckleberry Finn “written off from life.” The same goes for Tom Sawyer. True, in this image the traits of not one boy were embodied, but three at once, with whom Mark Twain was familiar.

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The main characters of the story

The main character of the story is a boy named Thomas Sawyer. He lives in a small American town called St. Petersburg, located in Missouri. After the death of his mother, Tom, he was taken up by her sister Polly. Tom Sawyer is a mischievous, yet brave and smart child. His best features are his willingness to sacrifice himself for friends, a sense of justice. Yes, he steals sugar from Aunt Polly, cunningly makes the boys paint a fence for him, skips school and not quite honestly receives a beautiful Bible as a gift. But Tom fearlessly suffers flogging instead of Becky, whom he is in love with, and defends the innocent Meff Potter in court.

At first glance, it seems that Tom is an ordinary boy. In fact, he is very different from other boys in St. Petersburg. Tom is a leader by nature. At the beginning of the story, it is told that when the children played war games, divided into two armies, Tom acted as the commander of one of them. He himself did not fight, giving orders through adjutants. Moreover, the army led by Sawyer won the battle. But the main thing is that no one except Tom is able to turn boring minutes into true holidays. Just recall the scene in the church when all the parishioners got bored of the priest’s sermon. Tom Sawyer managed to cheer them up by releasing a biting beetle from a box. The battle of the insect with the poodle that ran into the church brought to the church service, in the words of Tom himself, “a little bit of diversity.”

Huckleberry Finn is the son of a drunkard and friend of Tom Sawyer. Huck puts on “shoulder wear from adults”, does not recognize “no binding rules”, sleeps on the steps of someone else’s porch or in empty barrels, smokes a pipe and knows how to swear inventively. All mothers in St. Petersburg hate him and forbid their children to communicate with him. At the same time, the children of the soul do not dare in him and want to imitate him. Despite the fact that Huck actually grew up on the street, he was able not to fall to the very bottom, not to become hardened, to remain a good person. The boy lacks education. But Huckleberry has a practical savvy. In addition, the child is naturally savvy.

Becky Thatcher is the daughter of the judge Tom Sawyer is in love with. At the beginning of the book, she is described as “a lovely blue-eyed creature with golden hair braided in two long braids, in a white summer dress and embroidered pantaloons.” Becky’s character is not spelled out as well as the characters of Tom and Huck, but something can be said about her: she is not distinguished by her courage, foresight, ability to behave correctly in extreme situations. Becky’s behavior in the cave is indicative. While Tom is trying to find a way out of this situation, Becky for the most part cries and speaks of an imminent death. She immediately eats her share of the pie. It doesn’t even occur to her that she should leave at least a little bit for the future, because it is not known when she will be able to eat next time. It turns out that Becky was absolutely not ready for an extreme situation. Probably, if she got lost in the caves alone, she would not be able to get out of there. However, it was not Becky herself who was guilty of this, but the upbringing given to her.

Aunt Polly is the sister of Tom Sawyer’s deceased mother, who took the boy up. Despite the fact that he is a lot of naughty and often does not listen to her, aunt still loves him very much. Tom, feeling this, reciprocates her. Aunt Polly is naive in some matters – she sincerely believes Tom when he tells an alleged prophetic dream. In addition, the aunt is passionately addicted to “all kinds of patented drugs and newly invented therapeutic methods”, collecting “all quack magazines and all quack drugs.” And it tests it on other people, since she herself does not get sick. Aunt Polly is a kind and kindhearted woman. Often she gives Tom evade beatings, because she pities the mischievous person. In this case, the aunt admits: when she still manages to flog Tom, then her “old heart is directly torn to pieces.” Sometimes she shows extraordinary hardness. In particular, Aunt Polly finds the strength to get Tom Sawyer to paint the fence over the weekend.

Native American Joe is the main enemy of Tom Sawyer, a dangerous criminal who killed the young doctor Robinson and put the blame on Meff Potter. He is vindictive, cruel, ready to set up an innocent person to get himself out of the water dry, he knows how to convincingly lie.

tom sawyer paints fence

The world of adults and the world of children in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

In the book, the world of children is contrasted with the world of adults. The world of children is freedom, fun, adventure. As for the adult world, it is shown in the work as boring, dreary, with many rules of conduct. It is to him that the seemingly endless school lessons belong, in which the teacher Mr. Dobbins does not particularly try to interest the students; monotonous sermons of the priest.

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is a book about a special country called Childhood. Twain was sure that there wasn’t any more wonderful country in the world. Only she has a serious flaw – it is impossible to spend her whole life in it. One day it’s time to grow up. With age, people’s hearts become stale, their imagination weakens.

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