The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived. Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid. Tom dirties his clothes in a fight and is made to whitewash the fence the next day as punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work. He then trades the treasures for Sunday School tickets which one normally receives for memorizing verses, redeeming them for a Bible, much to the surprise and bewilderment of the superintendent who thought "it was simply preposterous that this boy had warehoused two thousand sheaves of Scriptural wisdom on his premises—a dozen would strain his capacity, without a doubt." Tom falls in love with Becky Thatcher, a new girl in town, and persuades her to get "engaged" by kissing him. But their romance collapses when she learns Tom has been "engaged" previously to Amy Lawrence. Shortly after Becky shuns him, he accompanies Huckleberry Finn to the graveyard at night, where they witness the murder of Dr. Robinson.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: A Facsimile of the Author’s Holograph Manuscript (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America), 1982. 9 Mark Twain’s Letters, pp. 258-259. 10 Mark Twain-Howells Letters, vol. 1, p. 110. 11 Twain wrote this letter in June 1876. See Mark Twain-Howells Letters, vol. 1, pp. 87-88. PREFACE Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest those of boys who were schoolmates of mine. Huck Finn is
being had for many a day longed for the glory and the éclat that came with it. In due course the superintendent stood up in front of the pulpit, with a closed hymnbook in his hand and his forefinger inserted between its leaves, and commanded attention. When a Sunday-school superintendent makes his customary little speech, a hymnbook in the hand is as necessary as is the inevitable sheet of music in the hand of a singer who stands forward on the platform and sings a solo at a concert—though why,
the island. But they discovered the danger in time, and made shift to avert it. About two o‘clock in the morning the raft grounded on the bar two hundred yards above the head of the island, and they waded back and forth until they had landed their freight. Part of the little raft’s belongings consisted of an old sail, and this they spread over a nook in the bushes for a tent to shelter their provisions; but they themselves would sleep in the open air in good weather, as became outlaws. They
long the author remained uncertain of its proper audience. (This uncertainty is especially notable when we consider that Tom Sawyer has long been regarded a classic of children’s literature.) As late as the summer of 1875, when Twain was completing a full draft of the manuscript, he wrote to his friend William Dean Howells, “It is not a boy’s book, at all. It will only be read by adults. It is only written for adults.”7 If Twain was, even at this late stage, imagining Tom Sawyer as a book for
Huck, “and I run. I took out when the pistols went off, and I didn’t stop for three mile. I’ve come now becuz I wanted to know about it, you know; and I come before daylight becuz I didn’t want to run acrost them devils, even if they was dead.” “Well, poor chap, you do look as if you’d had a hard night of it—but there’s a bed here for you when you’ve had your breakfast. No, they ain’t dead, lad—we are sorry enough for that. You see we knew right where to put our hands on them, by your