Meh, can't think of a good conclusion to my essay, think you could help? it's rather long...?

Over the course of American history, many a book has been written over life and much more. However, no one had created a story about a boy, a simple boy, with as much popularity as Tom Sawyer had. In his book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Samuel Clemens, more widely known as Mark Twain, uses his past to form a fantastic, adventurous story, filled with characters mimicking the actions of children or adults from his past, to much applause from critics worldwide.

Mark Twain wrote many stories in Tom Sawyer about events from his own life. Mark Twain was born November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri as Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was the sixth son of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. When Samuel Clemens was about four, his family moved to Hannibal, a port city on the Mississippi River that was a frequent stop for steamboats. However, Clemens was kept indoors until he was nine years of age because of poor health, but at nine he "seemed to recover" and was able to go outside with the other children. He then attended a private school. At the age of twelve, Clemens' father died of pneumonia, and a year later Clemens left school to "become a printer's apprentice." After two years, he joined with his brother Orion in a newspaper and became a printer and editorial assistant. Here, Clemens learned that he loved writing. At the ripe old age of seventeen, he left Hannibal for St. Louis for a job as a printer, and eventually became a riverboat pilot's apprentice in St. Louis. He became a licensed riverboat pilot in 1858, and while river-boating came up with his future pseudonym, Mark Twain, from a term used to find the depth of a river. After the riverboat trade halted due to the civil war, he started a new career as a newspaper reporter, continuing his writing career in the process. He gained instant fame when he published a short story by title of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. This success brought on the inspiration for the rest of his career, writing 28 books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and numerous short stories, letter, sketches, and essays. In later life, he married and had three kids, two of which died. He predicted in 1909 that, because he came in with Haley's comet, he would die with Haley's comet. His prediction was correct; he had a heart attack the day after Haley's comet came in 1910.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are just that, Adventures, plural. There are many stories within this story.They are about Tom Sawyer, "an imaginative and mischievous boy" who lives in St. Petersburg with his Aunt Polly and brother Sid. The story starts off with Tom getting in trouble for playing hooky and getting his clothes dirty in a fight in the very beginning, and is told to white-wash a fence by Aunt Polly. He tricks his friends into doing the work for him, and gets "treasures" for it, most of which he trades to others for tickets used in Sunday School to get a prize. He trades in the tickets to get a Bible to show off for Becky Thatcher, a new girl, but ruins it by saying the first two disciples were David and Goliath. Tom and Becky fall in love and get "engaged," but they "break up" because Becky finds out Tom was engaged before. Tom then accompanies Huckleberry Finn, his best friend and son of the local drunk, to a graveyard to get rid of warts. In the graveyard, they unwillingly witness a murder, and swear an oath not to tell a soul. However, the murderer, Injun Joe, blames his innocent partner, Muff Potter, and Muff gets arrested, making Tom guilty. Tom then runs away with Huck and another friend, Joe Harper, to be pirates on an island on the Mississippi River. Tom sneaks back, and hears Aunt Polly grieving, and makes a plan. Tom Huck and Joe all return at their funerals, to the admiration of their peers. Tm and Becky make up wen Tom takes the lame for stealing a book, and later Muff's trial starts and Tom testifies, forcing Injun Joe into hiding and acquitting Muff. Tom and Huck decide to go treasure hunting in a haunted house, but Injun Joe and an accomplice show up and, by sheer coincidence, find the treasure. Tom sets up Huck to tail Injun Joe, while Tom goes on a picnic with Becky and some schoolmates. Huck follows Joe and stops Joe from attacking Widow Douglas by informing the police. Meanwhile, Tom and Becky get lost in McDougal's cave, Tom sees Joe when trying to get out, and when they do get out, Tom and Huck return to retrieve the gold Joe was hiding. Joe was accidentally locked in the cave and starved to death, but Tom and Huck became rich. Throughout the book, Tom matures more and more, turning from a boy with little interest in anything but Robin Hood to a near-man who convinces Huck to join society. Thus, a theme of Tom Sawyer would be moral and social maturity.Twain's


style while writing this book is "Flexible, Styled, and Fluid." He constantly shifts from Tom's thoughts, which are ragged and filled with contractions and slang, to very descriptive narrative of some lofty subject. As the critics at Shmoop put it, "Without suitable dialogue, all of Twain's observations and remarks would be like a cake without icing: still delicious, but not quite right."

There are many characters in this book, but throughout the book three characters remain prominent: The Hero, Tom Sawyer, The Sidekick, Huck Finn, and The Villain, Injun Joe. Tom, the hero of this story, is in a word a boy. He is sometimes admirable, sometimes not as much. He trics the town into thinking him dead, but shows remorse for it. He plays hooky, but also saves lives, like Muff Potter's. He is also playing on both sides with Huck as well. On one hand, he's teaching him to be a pirate and robber, on the other, he's trying to get Huck to live in society. in some braver moments, he seems to be s

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selfless, shown by the scene where he takes Becky's punishment, but he's getting the pleasure of being Becky's hero for it, and being in Becky's good books as well, which isn't selfless at all. It's hard to figure out Tom. On one hand, one can look at him going to his own funeral with a "How Clever!" exclamation, but on the other, one can say "How could you do that to those who love you?" Huckleberry Finn, Tom's "sidekick," is loyal to the core. He is called the bad kid by the mothers of St. Petersburg, but the kids wish they could be like him. He's always happy to accompany Tom on an adventure, but he doesn't truly do things on his own until the end of the book. Huck is shown, in a conversation with Tom, to be modest and caring. He appreciates the help given him by Ben Rodgers and his slave, Uncle Jake, and repays the favor when possible. He doesn't want it known that he is close to a slave, but only to avoid the social black mark that would come. Huck develops as a character over the

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course of the book, from being too timid to take action to a man that protects Widow Douglas and, eventually, Jim on the Mississippi River. Injun Joe, the villain of this story, is obviously the antagonist. However, what makes him bad? Joe didn't plan to kill the octor, but when the opportunity came to get revenge for what the doc's father did, he took it. Joe is always motivated by revenge. He attempts to mutilate Widow Douglas over what her husband did, because he just can't let go of a grudge, eventually leading to his death in the cave; if he had stayed in Texas rather than returning to injure the widow, he'd have survived.

Over the years since The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, there has been much criticism. The first criticism was from The Atlantic Monthly news journal, where William D. Howells praised his book in May of 1876. He says that Twain presented the boy of the Southwest with a "fidelity to circumstance which loses no charm" by being highly realistic. Quoth How

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Howells, "There is scrupulous regard for the boy's point of view in reference to his surroundings and himself, which shows how rapidly Mr. Clemens has grown as an artist." In the book is a boy's love-affair, but it never becomes anything more than a boy's love affair, says he, and the story is "dramatically wrought," and the sub-cahracters are made with the same finesse as the main characters.A hundred years later, several essays have been written by prestigious critics. According to the critics, the book has enjoyed great popularity and earned a place as one of the foremost classics of our age. The illusion of a single summer is made by Twain's "specific and indeed meticulous attention to superficial chronology: at three parts of the book. Originally, say the critics (who did their research rather well), the book was to have three parts: "'"1, Boyhood and youth; 2, y[outh] and manh[ood]; 3, the Battle of Life in many lands; 4, (age 37 to [40?])....,"'" though the finished novel shows

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nothing of this original intention. However, the critics also say that at the end of the book, Tom's lost his sense of humor, and the fault is Twain's, "of course." Tom "earned the right to be somebody," but his author's vision "faltered." It is time, they say, for us to stop insisting that "Tom Sawyer, boy and book, be other than what they are."

2 Answers

  • 10 years ago
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