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The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 4247 words Published: 15th May 2017

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This paper aims at exploring the charm of the adventures of Tom Sawyer. It includes two parts: they are the charm of the plot arrangement and the charm of the words. It analyzes children's characteristics in the novel. Besides, it indicates the charm of the twists and turns in the novel. Finally, this paper analyzes the charm of the words of the adventures of Tom Sawyer. Readers can understand the novel better through the above analyses.

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Key Words: charm, Tom Sawyer, adventures

1. Introduction

Over the past decades, there have been many different kinds of novels come out. In addition, these new kinds of novels attract a lot of readers. However, it does not mean that people have to ignore or give up the "old" famous works. On the contrary, these famous works are unique; people should cherish the treasure which was left by those famous writers. People can know and learn much information from these works. For example, Mark Twain's the adventures of Tom Sawyer. It was published in 1876; it focuses on Tom's personal growth. The novel follows the development of Tom from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. It also resembles novels of the picaresque genre, in that Tom moves from one adventures to another. The adventures of Tom Sawyer fits the style of satire, folk narrative, and comedy. This novel is worthy to read.

This paper analyzes the charm of the adventures of Tom Sawyer. It includes two parts: they are the charm of the plot arrangement and the charm of the words. The author intends to analyze this novel in different ways, to let more people understand and like this amazing novel.

2. Literature Review

In these years, the adventures of Tom Sawyer is a popular topic for experts to conduct their studies. Different aspects relevant to the adventures of Tom Sawyer have been come out. This section provides a brief survey of some researches on the adventures of Tom Sawyer. Li Li ping, from Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, she indicated, "Though this novel tells about the life of children's adventures, it is romantic and legendary; in the meanwhile, it is a very serious novel."(2008). Cao Shan ke, from Sun Yat-Sen University, he pointed out that "the adventures of Tom Sawyer sustains its vitality to keep attracting readers from one generation to another, that is determined by its own literature charm. Mark Twain used variety kinds of writing skills to make this novel stretch over ages and keep pace with history,. In addition, he can let readers produce new realization and thinking about the heroes in the novel. "(2003). Jiiang Li na, from Gan su Union University, she indicated," Tom make the experience of adventures and irony theme, both were dispersive, join together. Mar Twain uncovered the social hypocrisy and sati red the ugly people and phenomenon by the humorous and irony way. A sense of humor and irony is one of the most attractive features in this novel."(2009). There are many researches of the adventures of Tom Sawyer, but some aspects are the same, it will be difficult for readers to understand this novel in different angles.

3. The charm of the plot arrangement

3.1The charm of children's characteristic

3.11 Children's curiosity

Curiosity is children's common characteristic. Curiosity makes them interest in everything. Children want to explore the world; they want to know something new. In other words, curiosity is motivation; it can push children to do something. That is why Mark Twain endowed Tom Sawyer curious and venturesome characteristics. In chapter 2 of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, one Saturday morning, Tom was punished by Aunt Polly; he had to whitewash the fence. That was impossible for Tom, who was a boy could not stop hanging out. So, he had to find out a way to solve this problem. And, he saw Jim, who was the only guy was interested at his sore tore. Normally, who wants to look at a sore toe, who cares other's sore toe. That was incredible. However, children were different form adults, they were curious about anything that they had not seen yet. As a result of curiosity, Jim helped Tom whitewash the fence just for the sore toe. Unluckily, Aunt Polly found that, Tom had to do it by himself again. Clever Tom always had methods, the key was -children's curiosity. He did something to catch children's attention. "Tom went on whitewashing -- paid no attention to the steamboat. "No answer. Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye of an artist" "What do you call work?" Tom pretended to enjoy whitewash. Besides, he succeeded to stimulate other's curiosity. Children wanted to try that mysterious task, and they were willing to exchange their toys to the whitewashing. In addition, Tom became a winner because of the children's curiosity. And in the latter chapters, Tom persuaded his friends, Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn to slip away to Jackson's Island. They agreed to do that because they had never experienced that before. Their curiosity pushed them to do that. In fact, in our daily life, curiosity has become an important part of children's motivation to do anything. Curiosity seems a catalyst for the children; it can provoke children to finish tasks spontaneously.

3.12 Children's naughtiness

Naughtiness is children's inborn nature. Children like playing, and playing is the essential task for them. So, in the novel, boys were so naughty that they made a lot of fun or troubles. In chapter 1, Tom had already showed his naughtiness to the readers. Though Aunt Polly had made some measures (sewed shirt collar, white thread) to prevent Tom swimming, clever Tom could still avoid those measures to go to swim. He could nearly succeed, but Sid let him down. Why did Tom make himself "at risky"? He knew Aunt Polly would check him whether swim or not. Because of naughtiness, which was children's characteristic, it pushed Tom to "take adventure". Naughtiness not just showed in chapter 1, in chapter 21, boys expressed their naughtiness onto the headmaster. "He seemed to take a vindictive pleasure in punishing the least shortcomings", so "the smaller boys spent their days in terror and suffering and their nights in plotting revenge." That just liked a circle, the kids became naughtier, and the headmaster punished them more. Consequently, the boys planed to make a big project-a cat. "She grabbed his wig with her desperate claws, clung to it, and was snatched up into the garret in an instant with her trophy still in her possession! And how the light did blaze abroad from the master's bald pate -- for the sign-painter's boy had gilded it!" How naughty they were! They dared to play a joke on the headmaster. The boys were not evil, but just naughty. They did that just for fun, the biggest motivation. Actually, in the daily life, children like tricks, too. When parents tell them not to do that, they may not listen to their parents obediently. Because they are naughty, they do not want to a good boy or good girl. Or, they can catch others' attention when they are naughty. People can accept children's naughtiness because that is children's nature.

3.13 Children's innocence

Children's innocence is also another children's common trait. Children do not like adults; they seem to be a piece of white paper, there is no stain on it. They are pure, they have not entered the society yet, instead, they live in a "sterile world"-a simple children circle. If they want to get one thing, they will just go for it, always directly, without other thinking. In the novel, though we can see many chapters show us children's naughtiness, children's innocence also was set. In chapter 6, "Tom lay thinking. Presently it occurred to him that he wished he was sick; then he could stay home from school." Children are children; they often have this thinking-skipping class. Not for what, just do not like having class or for going out to have fun, this is a simple motivation. "However, it seemed well worth while to chance it, so he fell to groaning with considerable spirit." When children want to skip class, they always want to find out a reasonable excuse. And the most frequently used and effective one is being ill. Many people have used this excuse when they were kids. But sometimes, it does not work, because parents know their children well. In the novel, Aunt Polly also found out Tom was pretending ill. Finally, Tom gave in. He said: "Oh, please, auntie, don't pull it out. It don't hurt any more. I wish I may never stir if it does. Please don't, auntie. I don't want to stay home from school. '" Tom is typical, he is a portrait of children. He is clever, but he cannot hide his innocence. Adults can easily figure out these childish tricks. Overall, children are children, they will never solve problem with deep consideration as adults. They will just use their naïve, simple way to deal with problems. That is also the big difference between children and adults.

The charm of children's wish to become adult

Many children do not agree that they are still children, they do not want to stay in a little children's world. They want to grow up as soon as possible. They suppose they are adults, they are mature enough to handle anything. Sometimes, they even hate others treat them as children. They want fair treatment (they think being treated like children is unfair). They often image that one day morning, they have become a adult when they wake up, and then they go to work not go to school. That is children's desire-to be adults.

3.21 A wish to be a pirate

In the novel, Mark Twain also set children with this wish. In chapter 8, "he would be a soldier, and return after long years, all war-worn and illustrious." Boys not only like being heroes, but also cheers and big hand. However, being a child could not help to develop into a hero, Tom wanted to change this situation, so he would like to be a soldier that means he had the chance to become an adult and hero. "And away in the future come back a great chief, bristling with feathers, hideous with paint, and prance into Sunday- School, some drowsy summer morning, with a blood- curdling war-whoop, and sear the eyeballs of all his companions with unappeasable envy." Many children may think that when they return home with wealth and power, their families and friends will proud of them. Therefore, the first step is, being an adult and going out. Then they can make their dream come true and do whatever they want to do. That's one of the reasons why children hope to adults.

3.22 Study to smoke

Children might be drawn to smoking for any number of reasons - to look cool, act older, seem tough, feel more confident and independent. The most important is, they think that smoking makes them appear in the eyes of others more mature. They also believe that they will more easily be accepted or respected by their peers if they smoke. They want to shape their own identities by smoking among teenagers. They would like to break through the circle of "being a good child", instead, they would prefer to be heroes. Children often image that they will grow up when they wake up next day. Then, they can go outside to make their dreams come true. At last, they will come back to hometown with wealth and power, their families and friends will be proud of them. In chapter 16, when Tom and his friends, Joe and Huck took adventure at an island, they studied to smoke that made them willing to stay at the island. Tom said, "I wish the boys could see us now." Smoking became an approach to show off. They wanted to let their peers to know that they were different among them. They were superior. They were not kids any more. How cool they were! "And I'll say, 'Oh, that's all right, if it's STRONG enough.' And then you'll out with the pipes, and we'll light up just as ca'm, and then just see 'em look!' 〞Though Tom and his friends seemed to be naïve, childish, it could not cover the truth they really wanted others to know that they could smoke, that means they had grown up. They could appear as adults. Children wanted to be more grown up because they thought that there would be fewer rules to follow. What needed to do was raise their status among other peers. They could be their examples and leaders. Tom, Joe and Huck studied to smoke not for the excitement of tobacco, but for the wish to become adults. They wanted to show they were not kids any more. (Even they were).

The charm of twists and turns

The adventures of Tom Sawyer can keep its own vitality from one generation to another because of its own literature charm. In the meanwhile, it attracts more and more readers. Mark Twain made this novel popular among these years. Even periods are different; The adventures of Tom Sawyer can let readers come about their own realization and thoughts about the characters in the novel. Twists and turns is one of the charms of novel, this kind of writing technique makes the novel more attractive. Mark Twain set lots of suspense, tortuous plots and terrifying description in the novel. All of these increased a kind of mysterious tension to make readers can not help to finish the novel.

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3.21 Tragedy in the graveyard

In chapter 9, Tom sneaked out of bed and went to the graveyard with Huck at night. They hid in the trees to wait for devils. After a while, three figures went into the grave. Tom and Huck thought they were the devils. They were delighted and horrified In fact, these three devils were three adults from the town. In addition, the boys were surprised to recognize the young Dr. Robinson accompanied by two local outcasts, the drunken Muff Potter and Injun Joe. Dr. Robinson ordered two men to dig up a corpse. After finishing the job, a fight ensued because of the extra payment. In the scuffle, Dr. Robinson knocked Potter unconscious with a stone. Moreover, Injun Joe killed Dr. Robinson with Potter's knife. Tom and Huck witnessed the murder happened. This murder produced suspense, because the real murderer, Injun Joe told Potter that he killed Dr. Robinson. In addition, Potter believed that. From an adventure to a murder, this children fiction became a mystery story. It made the boys more mature in one night. It was difficult to accept the bloody killing process. The murder setting was astonishing for readers, too. In the previous chapters, they were just about children's tricks, children's adventures, which were simple, funny and interesting. However, in this chapter, the children innocent style was swerved to detective logically one. Actually, the author had set some tips to suggest that something different would happen. "The ticking of the clock, Old beams, the stairs, chirping of a cricket, the howl of a far-off dog, a most melancholy caterwauling" etc, showed the atmosphere was strange. These descriptions were so particular that made readers feel like the boys in the novel. These hints drew people into a creepy night to go for adventures with Tom. The boys were shocked by the murder and grew up psychologically in one night. In the meanwhile, readers suddenly realized that it was not only for children, but also for adults.

3.23 The salvation of Muff Potter

After witnessing the murder, Tom and Huck's immediate reflection was to flee, both physically and psychologically. They ran from the scene of crime back into the world of children. They were shocked. When Injun Joe blamed Muff Potter for the crime, the boys did not tell the truth because of a "blood oath" and fear. Tom and Huck felt guilty. Nevertheless, they could still go back to the normal life. Forming pirate crew, learning to smoke, tricking the headmaster and so on, Mark Twain let the funny and relaxing style come back again. Readers can loosen their nerve temporarily from the previous tense atmosphere. Mark Twain could control this situation perfectly (loose-tight-loose). He could catch readers' attention and give space for them to take a break or have a thought. Therefore, in chapter 23, a sharp turn came again. Readers' sights were focus on the crime once more. In this chapter, Muff Potter's trail approached, Tom and Huck agonized about whether they should reveal what they had known. They feared Injun Joe would kill them if they speak out the truth. "'Huck, they couldn't anybody get you tell, could they?' 'Get me tell? Why, if I wanted that half-breed devil to drownd me they could get me to tell'…'I reckon we're safe as long as we keep mum. But let's swear again, anyway. It's more surer.'" Children are children; they do not know what to do if they find something wrong. When readers read these words, they may worry about whether the boys would tell the truth or not. How Muff Potter would be sentenced? Whether Injun Joe would be charged? A series of question are raised. Fortunately, Potter's lawyer called Tom as a witness for the defense. And Tom told the truth finally. At this moment, readers can take a break. However, at the same moment, the real murderer, Injun Joe escaped. Then, what would happen? Suspense was set again, which made readers worry once more.

3.24 The discovery of real robbers

After Injun Joe's escape, the town back to normal. Tom and Huck decided to hunt for the treasure. They discussed possible places to dig out treasure. They imaged what they would do if they find treasure. They dug a number of places around the tree but found nothing. At the midnight, the boys came back, found nothing again. Finally, they hesitantly agreed to go to the "haunted" house, a deserted building nearby. That appeared to be another adventure along the lines of the boys' trip of Jackson's Island. It was only when Injun Joe appeared at the house that twists and turns showed again. Readers realized that narrative was no longer skipping from adventure to adventure but instead driving toward an ending. Tom and Huck found one of the two robbers was Injun Joe. At first, they were frightened that Injun Joe would make reprisals. However, when boys found the robbers wanted to hide gold coins at the house. They "With gloating eyes they watched every movement. Luck!--the splendor of it was beyond all imagination! Six hundred dollars was money enough to make half a dozen boys rich!" Before the large sum of money (though they not yet had it), fear could be forgotten temporarily, that was kids' thought. Nevertheless, they became desperate because robbers changed the hiding place. By this point of the novel, Mark Twain tight readers' nervous again. Twain let the key chapter, Injun Joe show up to prepare finishing the novel. At this point, readers also have a deep thought. What is the ending? Happy or sad? Would Injun Joe take revenge¼Ÿ A series of query showed Mark Twain succeeded in setting this suspense. Actually, the discovery of real robbers was the hint to foreshadow the ending of the novel. But Mark Twain caught every chances to catch readers' eyes, he liked twists and turns, so do the readers. This plot also showed Tom's development of maturity and the effects that it had on his interactions with his friends and family. Twists and turns worked again.

The charm of words

Children's tone

Literature is the art of words. The words of children's novel should be suitable for children. Children's novel seems a game, which is played on paper. This game should be interesting and active because its readers are children, and their parents are selectors. This game is also full of children's humor, direction, curiosity, simplicity and variety. Children can understand the lines without difficult logical reasoning. The adventures of Tom Sawyer is exactly this type of novel. Mark Twain passed the relaxing atmosphere to the readers by the words of Tom and other boys. The tone of the novel is children style; it can express its meaning and convey the characters' characteristics by the words. In addition, most of the words of the novel were said by children. And the children in the novel were not good or well educated. In the daily conversations, they often used non-standard oral English, even dialect and slang. Their words were different from the standard language in St. Petersburg; they were thought to be vulgar, dirty and low-down. Mark Twain believed that "bad boys" should use "bad language", they were perfectly matched. In chapter 1, Tom was very angry because Sid told Aunt Polly that he skipped class to swim. He scolded Sid: "Siddy, I'll lick you for that." Besides, a boy was a new comer. Tom did not like the boy only because the boy was well dressed. Tom provoked: "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." "I can."… A naïve and pure image was presented by Tom's sharp and violent words. These words fit in with children's speaking habit. That will be humorous and funny for the reader, no matter the reader is a kid or an adult.

Exquisite description

Another feature of this novel is exquisite description. Through the exquisite description, readers can understand the boys in the novel better. Mark Twain was good at description. In chapter 2, the most interesting plot is Tom's whitewashing. In a beautiful Saturday morning, Tom was punished to whitewash the fence. For exchanging with his "freedom", he took out his treasure-"He got out his worldly wealth and examined-bits of toys, marbles and trash". He wanted to use these "treasure" to tempt other kids to help him whitewash. Afterwards, Tom had a better idea. He pretended the job-whitewashing was not work, it was an Art creation-"Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye of an artist". Tom's enjoyment of whitewashing caught kids' attention as expected. And they were willing to exchange with their treasure for this art creating. Tom pretended to accept the deal reluctantly. Actually, he was happy to exchange. Moreover, he continued to plan another step. "planned the slaughter of more innocents." How clever Tom was! He knew the boys' way of thinking. As if the price of something is higher, people will believe the quality may higher than the cheaper one too. So, Tom knew if he wanted other kids to help, he must let them know how funny the job was and he liked the job. That is kid. If you wanted kids cherish what they got, you should let them get it more difficult. Mark Twain's exquisite description not only shows us that the novel is funny but also his understand of children's thinking. Through these exquisite descriptions, readers can entirely get into the novel, to know, to enjoy the world of children.

A sense of humor and irony

Humor and Irony is an indirect way to express author's thought. In the novel, Mark Twain satirized social vices, ugly phenomenon and people at that time by humor and irony. The most attractive characteristic of the novel is humor and irony, Mark Twain was always good at using it. In chapter 5, Mark Twain showed us an interesting scene that was people went to church to pray. When talking about the mayor, the author used these words "the mayor and his wife-for they had a mayor there, among other unnecessaries", "unnecessaries" tells the readers that the mayor was a small potato, his position existed in name only. Then, after the minister sung the hymn which was thought beautiful, and "the ladies would lift up their hands and let them fall helplessly in their lap, and 'wall'their eyes, and shake their heads…" On one hand, "helplessly" and "wall" expressed people's appreciation to the minister. On the other hand, people were absent-minded. When the minister droned through an argument, "many a head by and by began to nod ", they "nod" not because they agree or understand the argument, but because they dozed off. And another scene was interesting too. That was the first time when Tom met a girl who was a new comer; he fell in love with her immediately. Actually, "A certain Amy Lawrence vanished out of his heart and left not even a memory of herself behind. He had thought he loved her to distraction; he had regarded his passion as adoration; and behold it was only a poor little evanescent partiality. "Tom was fickle in love; he could love someone easily, and forget her more easily. How bad he was! Mark Twain did not mean to express Tom's badness; he just wanted to show Tom's naughtiness, smartness and loveliness through these humor and irony words.


All in all, this paper tells the readers that the charm of the adventures of Tom Sawyer. It includes two parts: they are the charm of the plot arrangement and the charm of the words. From this paper, readers can know more information about the novel. It analyzes children's characteristics in the novel, they are curiosity, naughtiness and innocence; it explains why the children in the novel did something like that. Besides, it indicates the charm of the twists and turns in the novel, Mark Twain was good at setting suspense to attract readers. Finally, this paper analyzes the charm of the words of the adventures of Tom Sawyer. Readers can understand the novel better through the analyses about the tone, description and writing style of the novel.


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