Thursday, 8 September 2011

Critical analysis of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a renowned book written by Mark Twain in the 19th century. Tom Sawyer is a character who has lived on through the generations without losing his popularity. Millions today still enjoy The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The story takes place in Missouri in a small town nestled along the mighty Mississippi River. It is a wonderful tale of a young boy and his propensity to find trouble with a capital T.
Tom Sawyer is a mischievous, yet kind-hearted, boy who lives with his Aunt Polly and brother Sid. Tom and Sid's mother had passed away and Aunt Polly stepped in to mother the boys, but she cannot bring herself to be strict with them, and Tom has an instinctual ability to exploit this factor whenever it suits him.
Young Tom isn't a "bad" boy, but instead a thoughtful and sensible kid who happens to be a magnet for trouble. The plot of "Tom Sawyer" centers around Tom's knack for finding himself in the midst of many dilemmas which lead to adventure. He has an innate ability to read people and can easily utilize human nature to work to his advantage.
Throughout the pages of "Tom Sawyer" you'll find Tom influencing others to perform his chores while he scurries off to his next adventure. If he's not being persuasive, he has a tendency to be manipulative such as convincing others to give him a favored toy or treat.
Tom also has a keen way of managing to sway others under the guise of fun. There is many a time he convinces other boys to join him on journeys against their better judgment. Tom's quick ability to use reverse psychology to turn the proverbial tables on both his friends and nemesis works like a charm every time - almost.
As Tom finds himself on top of situations, he often finds himself in hot water such as the time he traded all of the trinkets he manipulated from the other kids for tickets earned for memorizing Bible verses. In the end he has more tickets than everyone and wins the award in Sunday School. However when asked specific questions about the Bible he blurts out the wrong answer and embarrasses himself.
Young Sawyer is very charismatic and he woos, and later wins the affection of Becky Thatcher. He accomplishes this by using superb "show-off" techniques that boys this age tend to use when wanting to impress a girl. It works smashingly and the two hit it off. He is later spurned when Becky learns of a former relationship he had with another girl.
After getting in trouble with Aunt Polly for something Sid did, Tom becomes upset
and runs off with his pal Huckleberry Finn. The two boys later witness a murder and this is where the story really begins to take off because the real murderer puts the blame on an innocent man and Tom and Huck are the only ones who have witnessed what really happened.
The murderer is a violent man and Tom and Huck know if they tell on the murderer he will extract revenge, and are too afraid to say anything about it, but they still feel guilty that a man is in jail wrongly accused. Tom has this deeply embedded in his subconscious but on the outside he is quickly back to his antics and fun-loving ways; but the murder weighs heavily on his mind.
To get his mind off of the murder he puts together a band of pirates with his friends Joe Harper and Huck Finn. While out on an "adventure" on the river and an island, it seems somehow everyone in town thinks they've drowned. They use this misunderstanding to their benefit and decide to take off and be "real" pirates. For days they play on an island and then later to everyone's surprise show up at their own funerals. Aunt Polly is justifiably upset, but later forgives Tom when she finds an undelivered note in his pocket which had expressed for her not to worry.
Eventually the trial begins for the murder and the murderer has not confessed but instead continues the charade that someone else committed it. Tom and Huck become more than a bit nervous and swear to keep mum about what they saw. Tom later is struck by conscience and tells the court what he saw; the murderer escapes and now Tom has to fear revenge.
The rest of the book continues with many various adventures, but all the while the escaped murdered weighs heavily on Tom's mind. All of the preceding events lead to culminating adventures which include another attempted murder, a cave, missing persons and buried treasure.
Twain has an incredible ability to weave Tom's personal and leadership attributes into a story which makes it appealing to both children and adults. Once you pick this book up you'll be compelled to read it all the way through.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer centres on the exploits of Tom Sawyer - a mischievous little boy who is endearing all the same. Set in the 1840's American mide-west, the story begins with Aunt Polly searching for her rascal nephew, Tom. The narrative introduces us to Tom and his myriad exploits. His rogue nature is further solidified in comparison with his half-brother, Sid.
Early in the plot, the author uses a vignette to demonstrate the cunning of the main character. Aunt Polly punishes him by making him whitewash the fence. Tom, disinclined to spend time at this arduous task, tricks other boys into painting the fence for him simply by making the activity appear to be loads of fun. So convincing is his act, that he inveigles the other boys to bribe him to paint Aunt Polly's fence.
In the midst of the many exploits of Tom Sawyer is a tale of young love. Becky Thatcher, no relation to Margaret, becomes the object of Tom's affection. After Tom successfully courts Becky, his loose tongue puts a spoke in the wheel of their relationship. Another important character in the plot is Huckleberry Finn, who will later have many adventures of his own.
Tom and Huck inadvertently become witnesses to a murder. In the cemetery, they witness the body-snatching doctor being murdered by one of his two accomplices- Injun Joe. Injun Joe pins the murder on Muff, who was knocked unconscious during the event. When the town learns of the murder, the two boys observe Muff's arrest and confession to murder.
Tom, rejected by Becky and feeling unloved otherwise, decides to pursue a life of crime and his pirate fantasy. After eloping with Huck and a guy named Joe Harper, he soon learns that the townspeople think that the boys are dead after they were missing for a while. Tom witnesses the grief of his Aunt Polly and decides to attend his own funeral, making a dramatic entry.
There is a return to the subplots after this, like an intermission before the show resumes. In one of these sub-plots, Tom rescues his sweetheart from punishment. Becky finally forgives him after this deed. Unexpectedly, Tom is called to testify at Muff's trial and Muff is exonerated. Injun Joe, the murderer, escapes. His shadow seems to hang over Tom from here on. After a while, Tom and Huck encounter Injun Joe while they search for treasure in a haunted house. Injun finds the treasure they were looking for and plots revenge against someone. To his relief, Huck soon discovers that it is the Widow Douglas.
Huck runs for help and other townsfolk chase the men; just failing to catch them. Injun Joe goes into hiding again. In the chaos, Tom and Becky get lost in the caves and are only discovered missing the next day. They face a dwindling food supply. To their collective alarm they discover that Injun Joe is hiding in the caves. Fortunately, he doesn't spot them and they retreat.
In the end, the children are discovered by the goodly townsfolk before they perish. There's no information on Injun Joe while they recover from the ordeal. It turns out that Injun Joe was trapped in the sealed caves and dies. Tom and Huck immediately remember the treasure and retrieve it. Widow Douglas announces her intention to adopt Huckleberry. Huck has his finances invested on his behalf after Tom reveals his new money. The emphasis is now on Huck, as he resents his forced civilization under Widow Douglas. He recaptures his liberty and makes a pact with Tom. There are certainly more adventures ahead, at the conclusion of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer- a precursor to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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