Boys Will be Boys in Tom Sawyer

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Boys Will be Boys in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

Mark Twain uses “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” to reveal his own childhood; thus, many specifics in the book, such as the characters and the setting are very dear to his heart. It is the story about life in a boy’s world, and it discloses the feelings of Mark Twain concerning his boyhood, his town, and the people there. The time period is about two decades before the Civil War, and the setting is in St. Petersburg, Missouri, a small village on the Mississippi River.

The main character in the book is Tom Sawyer, of course. Throughout the book, the author compares himself to Tom and his adventures. Tom is all boy, meaning that he is about as rambunctious and mischievous as a little boy can be. He despises anything that places restrictions on his boyhood freedom including school, church, and chores. Not only does he despise these restrictions, but he also will do anything to get out of them. For example, he skips school, and he cons friends into doing his chores for him. While he detests the restraints of life, he loves the liberating parts of life. He longs to take advantage of nature and all it has to offer. A quote from the book that exemplifies Tom Sawyer’s attitude toward life is when the author reveals his philosophy, “that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”

The other characters in the story revolve around Tom’s character. Tom lives with his Aunt Polly because of the death of his mother. She tries to keep Tom in line, but she struggles because she has such a soft spot in her heart for Tom. When she does discipline Tom, she feels terrible, and in a way, she punishes herself. Sidney is Tom’s half brother who seems to always be making Tom look bad. While Tom is the so-called bad boy who is always getting into trouble, Sidney is the good boy who always does what he is told. However, Tom is presented in a compassionate way, but Sidney is portrayed as a tattler and a deceiver. He is shown to be deceitful when he allows Tom to take the blame and punishment for the broken sugar bowl even though he is the one who broke it.

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