The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Tom Sawyer (disambiguation).
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Tom Sawyer 1876 frontispiece.jpg
Front piece of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Author Mark Twain
Cover artist created by Mark Twain
Country United States
Language English
Genre Bildungsroman, picaresque, satire, folk, children's novel
Publisher American Publishing Company
Publication date
1876[1]
OCLC 47052486
Fic. 22
LC Class PZ7.T88 Ad 2001
Preceded by The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
Followed by A Tramp Abroad
Text The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at Wikisource

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.[2]

Summary[edit]

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 a punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work. He trades the treasures for Sunday School tickets which one normally receives for memorizing scriptures, 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 a girl named Amy Lawrence. Shortly after being shunned by Becky, Tom accompanies Huckleberry Finn to the graveyard at night, where they witness the murder of Dr. Robinson.

Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper run away to an island. While enjoying their new-found freedom, the boys become aware that the community is sounding the river for their bodies. Tom sneaks back home one night to observe the commotion. After a brief moment of remorse at his loved ones' suffering, Tom is struck by the idea of appearing at his own funeral.

Back in school, Tom gets himself back in Becky's favor after he nobly accepts the blame for a book she has ripped. Soon, Muff Potter's trial begins, in which Tom testifies against Injun Joe. Potter is acquitted, but Injun Joe flees the courtroom through a window. Tom then begins to fear for his life as Injun Joe is at large and can easily find him.

Summer arrives, and Tom and Huck go hunting for buried treasure in a haunted house. After venturing upstairs they hear a noise below. Peering through holes in the floor, they see Injun Joe disguised as a deaf-mute Spaniard; Injun Joe and his companion plan to bury some stolen treasure of their own. From their hiding spot, Tom and Huck wriggle with delight at the prospect of digging it up. Huck begins to shadow Injun Joe nightly, watching for an opportunity to nab the gold. Meanwhile, Tom goes on a picnic to McDougal's Cave with Becky and their classmates. In his overconfidence, Tom strays off the marked paths with Becky and they get hopelessly lost. That same night, Huck sees Injun Joe and his partner making off with a box. He follows and overhears their plans to attack the Widow Douglas. By running to fetch help, Huck prevents the crime and becomes an anonymous hero.

As Tom and Becky wander the extensive cave complex for the next few days, Tom one day accidentally encounters Injun Joe, although the boy is not seen by his nemesis. Eventually, he finds a way out, and the two children are joyfully welcomed back by their community. As a preventive measure, Judge Thatcher has McDougal's Cave sealed off, but this traps Injun Joe inside. When Tom hears of the sealing several days later and directs a posse to the cave, they find the corpse of Joe just inside the sealed entrance, starved to death.

A week later, having deduced on Injun Joe's presence at McDougal's Cave that the villain must have hidden the stolen gold inside, Tom takes Huck to the cave and they find the box of gold, the proceeds of which are invested for them. The Widow Douglas adopts Huck, and, when Huck attempts to escape civilized life, Tom tricks him into thinking if Huck returns to the widow, he can join Tom's robber band. Reluctantly, Huck agrees and goes back to the Widow Douglas.

Sequels and other works featuring Tom Sawyer[edit]

Tom Sawyer, the story's title character, also appears in two other uncompleted sequels: Huck and Tom Among the Indians and Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy. He is also a character in Twain's unfinished Schoolhouse Hill.

Adaptations and influences[edit]

Film and Television

Theatrical[edit]

In 1956, We're From Missouri, a musical adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, with book, music and lyrics by Tom Boyd, was presented by the students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Ballet[edit]

"Tom Sawyer: A Ballet in Three Acts" premiered on October 14, 2011 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. The score was by composer Maury Yeston, with choreography by William Whitener, artistic director of the Kansas City Ballet.[17][18] A review in The New York Times observed: "It’s quite likely that this is the first all-new, entirely American three-act ballet: it is based on an American literary classic, has an original score by an American composer and was given its premiere by an American choreographer and company. ... Both the score and the choreography are energetic, robust, warm, deliberately naïve (both ornery and innocent), in ways right for Twain."[19]

Internet[edit]

On November 30, 2011, to celebrate Twain’s 176th birthday, the Google Doodle was a scene from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. [20]

Inspiration[edit]

According to an October 2012 article published in Smithsonian magazine, Twain named his fictional character after a San Francisco fireman whom he met in June 1863. The real Tom Sawyer was a local hero, famous for rescuing 90 passengers after a shipwreck. The two remained friendly during Twain's three-year stay in San Francisco, often drinking and gambling together.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Facsimile of the original 1st edition.
  2. ^ Mark Twain 2010 : "The Stories Started Here" – Hannibal, MO (4 March 2011). "Exploring the Life and Literature of Mark Twain". Retrieved MT2010. 
  3. ^ "Tom Sawyer". 
  4. ^ "Tom Sawyer (1930)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Tom Sawyer (1936)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ "THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (1938)". tcm.com. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1960– )". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Les aventur Sawyer (1968– )". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ "The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1968–1969)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Aventuras de Juliancito (1969)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Tom Sawyer (1973)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Tom Sawyer (TV 1973)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Huckleberry Finn and His Friends (1979– )". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (1981)". nytimes.com. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Tom and Huck (1995)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tom Sawyer (Video 2000)". IMDB. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ Horsley, Paul. "An American Ballet: KCB Presents World Premiere Of Ambitious New Piece", KCIndependent.com, accessed June 23, 2012
  18. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Maury Yeston's Tom Sawyer Ballet Will Get World Premiere in 2011", Playbill.com, November 9, 2012
  19. ^ Macaulay, Alastair. "Yes, Those Are Tom, Becky and Huck Leaping", NYTimes.com, October 24, 2011
  20. ^ "Mark Twain's 176th Birthday", google.com, November 30, 2011
  21. ^ Graysmith, Robert (October 2012). "The Adventures of the Real Tom Sawyer". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]