Journaling through “Tom Sawyer”

Comment on the Author’s Tone

In the selection I read this evening, the author, Mark Twain, uses a very light-hearted tone and style of writing. After reading a few chapters of The Scarlet Letter earlier this evening, this selection was much more light-hearted, laid-back, and easier to read. The whole idea of a boy going about his regular, mischievous, everyday life in the middle 1800s is relaxing. It reminds me of when I was younger, even though I didn’t get into nearly as much trouble as Tom Sawyer, the main character of the story, did, even in this first portion of the book. Tom is always finding a way to get out of the trouble he is in – he tricks his aunt, with whom he lives, into turning her back on him for a quick second, in order to avoid punishment. Tom’s whole nature, although mischievous, is not to do any harm to anyone and he is never rebellious in a “bad” way – he just wants to have fun – he doesn’t like doing chores, attending school, etc. His aunt gets mad at him, but he gets out of his punishment so cleverly that she just laughs and lets him get away with it. She never stays upset with Tom, and she feels like his actions are normal – just like other boys. The whole nature of the story and the characters is amusing and light-hearted.

The book’s simplistic reading style and carefree nature, though, do not get in the way of Twain’s use of many of the techniques we’ve learned from Rackahm – especially the ones dealing with concrete, sensory details. For example, at the beginning of chapter two, Twain writes, “Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young the music issued at the lips. There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust trees were in bloom and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air. Cardiff Hill, beyond the village and above it, was green with vegetation; and it lay just far enough away to seem a Delectable Land, dreamy, reposeful, and inviting.” This shows all sorts of imagery with concrete details (in bold), as well as Twain’s whole light-hearted tone of writing, in an almost-colloquial informal voice. Although written over a hundred years ago, the imagery conveyed throughout the few chapters I’ve read thus far allows me to picture what this scene may have looked, sounded, smelled, felt, and even maybe tasted like.

Comment on the construction/organization of the Selection

The four chapters I’ve read in this book thus far have spanned only a few days in time, and the story is told in chronological order. Since this is a story about a boy growing up in the 1800s in Mississippi, it makes sense to tell the story in chronological order – anything else can get confusing. Jumping around, telling different details in any other order confuses and bores the reader. It makes the reader want to put the book down and find a better one. For example: In chapter two, Twain explains how Tom’s aunt makes him whitewash the fence. While he is painting it, his friends walk by and make fun of him for it. Tom fools his friends into thinking he’s having fun, and he makes them jealous. Then, he gets his friends to give him something of value, and, in return, he gives them an opportunity to paint portions of the fence. Then, the next day, Tom trades the valuables he received the day before for tickets to get a Bible at church. Twain could have left out the story about the whitewashing the fence and just said something about trading valuables he had received from tricking other boys into paying him to work for him. That story, though, gives the reader a superior picture of Tom and his character, as well as giving more detail and making the story more interesting.

Also, the sentences are written simply, but at the same time, they are complete and detailed. This draws readers of all ages in (younger readers enjoy the simplicity, older readers enjoy the detail), and it allows them to picture the scenes in the story as the author may have pictured them while he was writing. Since the story is written in a very detailed fashion, there is a lot of dialogue between Tom, his aunt, his friends, and the other people of his town. This can get confusing to some people once in a while, but, overall, it is fairly straightforward and easy to follow. The dialogue is part of the reason for the simplistic sentence structure – our minds cannot process things as quickly when we hear them as when we see them, so people generally talk in a more simplex manner than they write. Also, within the dialogue, there is not always completely accurate grammar – this is done purposefully to show the way people talked back in the south during the early-mid 1800s. Overall, the story (up to this point) is well organized, easy to follow, and enjoyable to read.

Quote a certain passage that strikes a nerve and discuss it

In my reading this evening, I read about an experience Tom had in church. Twain explained how Tom always got bored because things seemed to go on forever. Twain writes (pg 34-35), “After the hymn had been sung, the Rev. Mr. Sprague turned himself into a bulletin board and read off “notices” of meetings and societies and things till it seemed that the list would stretch out to the crack of doom – a queer custom which is still kept up in America, even in cities, away here in this age of abundant newspapers. Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.” I thought this quote was interesting – back when Twain wrote this book, the custom of reading “notices” that he mentions here was probably practiced more than it is today. Now, although there are a few announcements at church, they are limited to only a few minutes and do not detail everything that is going on in town. I think part of this is due to the fact that there are more methods of communication now than there were in Twain’s day. Today, we have the Internet, email, snail mail, newspapers, television, radio, etc., where as in Twain’s day, the only major methods of communication were word of mouth, snail mail, newspapers, and possibly telephones. (I’m not sure in what year they became used widely.) The other reasons that there are fewer announcements at church are that people don’t have as much time to “waste” listening to announcements when they can listen to the radio on the way to work, and few towns (especially in suburban areas) are the size of the towns in Twain’s day and in the story.

The other main reason I thought this quote was interesting was the last sentence. Twain explains that the less reason there is to continue a tradition, the harder it is to get rid of it. I agree with this, and I think this happens because by the time there are fewer reasons to continue a tradition, it’s already been practiced for so long that people don’t want to give it up. Once a person has been practicing a custom for a long time, it becomes such a habit and an important tradition to that person that it is hard for him to give it up, even if there is no reason to practice that custom. For example, the people were so used to hearing the announcements at church that they would have felt it strange to not hear them, even though newspapers were available for them to read and find that information out for themselves.

Express likes and dislikes and explain

The whole laid-back style and the fun and relaxing content of the story makes it an enjoyable book to read. Although I was never really like Tom Sawyer, – I never skipped school to go fishing, I was never all that mischievous, etc. – the story reminds me of when I was a kid and all the fun times I had enjoying myself. Part of getting older is taking on more responsibility – getting more homework, working, etc. As I get older, I get more and more things to do and am busier and busier as time goes on. Every year, I have less and less time to enjoy myself, and to do whatever I so desire. When I was little, I usually didn’t have much homework and could go outside and play baseball or soccer or kickball with my brother and sister and two friends who lived down the street. I can remember those cool, sunny afternoons and evenings where I’d play baseball or ride my bike – playing “cops and robbers” on bikes with our little walkie-talkies that barely spanned two small yards.

The fact that Tom lives in the south, where the climate is different, and the story takes place over 150 years ago makes it slightly harder for me to imagine. Regardless, Twain does a good job of creating an image in the reader’s mind and I can picture the story in my mind. I picture Tom Sawyer as a young boy of maybe seven or eight years who’s always got a mischievous look on his face – kind of like Dennis the Menace (probably one of my favorite cartoon characters as a kid). I picture a small, southern town, where everything is somewhat spread out, especially on the outskirts of town. I picture Tom’s school as a one-room school house that looks kind of like a church, with a bell on top and windows to allow a breeze during those hot late spring and late summer schooldays. These pictures in my mind are happy ones – ones that make me feel that I don’t have a care in the world, which is really nice in the busy world that exists today.

The one thing I dislike about this book is that it’s a bit on the easy side. It’s nice not having to think about the book for hours to figure out what’s going on, but I think Twain could have made the reading level a bit higher, and yet done a good job of keeping his readers entertained.

Try to express how it made you feel

This portion of the book was a bit more exciting than previous chapters. Most of the previous chapters talked about little things Tom did – things that happened at school and church, what went on in his house, etc. – but in this section showed a more adventuresome side of Tom. In the first of these two chapters, Tom is having a difficult time falling asleep. He lies in his bed for a few hours, still unable to sleep. As he lies there, he hears more and more noises that normally, during the day, would have no meaning to him, but, because it is dark, they scare him. Around 11, Tom finally begins to doze. He suddenly hears a crash of a bottle against his aunt’s shed and someone yelling. He quickly dresses and finds Huck Finn waiting outside for him. They travel to the town’s graveyard, where they see a man named Joe Injun kill someone else. This is an exciting point in the story – here the boys are in the graveyard, the lone witnesses of the murder. This creates a dilemma for the boys – they decide not to tell what they saw, because if Joe were not put to death for his crime, he could go after them, but, at the same time, they realize that they are the only witnesses. They put their vow to not tell what they saw in writing, but I think that it’s such a huge thing to see that that’s its not exactly completely possible to keep it all to themselves. One of them is bound to tell someone sooner or later, most likely later. The second of these two chapters explains how the boys run away from the graveyard with all their might, after they’ve seen the murder. They run to one of their favorite hideouts, an old tannery, where they make their vow. Then, they can hear someone snoring in the tannery and go look to see whom it is. They figure out it’s a third man who was at the scene of the murder, but who didn’t actually know Joe committed the crime. Eventually, Tom gets back home and goes to sleep.

These two chapters were filled with adventure – the sneaking out during the night to see what was going on at the graveyard, running away from the graveyard, hiding in the tannery, hearing someone snoring there, figuring out who was snoring (they thought it might be Joe), etc. It was really fun to read about one of Tom’s adventures – nothing else he’s done has really been exciting like this.

State questions the material left you with

In the first of these two chapters, the town finds out about the murder. The third man at the scene of the murder, Muff Potter, and Joe show up at the graveyard where all the people are gathered. Since the knife found in the dead man’s body was Potter’s, he was arrested, accused for the crime, and sent to jail. Although I sort of know what happens next, there are still some questions I have. First of all, I’d like to know if Tom and Huck ever decide to break their oath and tell the townspeople who actually committed the crime. Along those lines, I’d like to know what makes Tom and Huck decide to break their oath. In the first of these two chapters, Tom feels sorry for Potter, since he was wrongly accused of the murder, and Tom knows that Joe actually did it. To ease his conscience, Tom brings Potter bits of food. The whole matter is bothering Tom a lot, so I think he will end up breaking his oath and telling the people what he actually saw. I think his reason for it would probably be that he feels guilty, knowing that Potter is innocent, and yet allowing him to be punished, most likely, with death. I would also like to know what other adventures Tom has, as the title of this book is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The second of these two chapters talked about how Tom’s mind was taken off of the whole murder, and focused more back on himself. Although Tom has had many small “adventures,” the one with the murder is the only real big one so far. I would like to find out not only what little “adventures” or skirmishes Tom experiences, but what other big adventures Tom goes through. Also, there’s a girl, Becky Thatcher, he says he’s in love with and the back cover of the book says that the two of them get trapped into a hidden cave. I imagine that the murder/grave-digging (the three men at the graveyard the one night were digging up a grave) has something to do with their being trapped in a cave, but I’d like to find out the details of that. I’m guessing that more and more of the story will revolve around the murder/grave-digging, but, I guess my question is, “How exactly does everything fit together? – How do Becky and Tom get involved with the grave-diggers and murderer, and how does everything turn out in the end?” I’ve enjoyed reading this book so far, and I’m sure the rest of it will also be enjoyable.

Discuss what is similar in your own experience

At the beginning of chapter 13, Twain writes, “He was gloomy and desperate. He was a forsaken, friendless boy, he said; nobody loved him;…” Previously, Becky had been ignoring Tom and, as this quote shows, Tom sulks about it. He exaggerates things and says that nobody loves him, which obviously isn’t true. If his aunt didn’t love him, why would she care for him and attempt to punish him when he did wrong? – she wouldn’t. I have acted in a similar manner to Tom in the past. For example, I can remember times when I was younger that I thought I was being treated unfairly, when I actually wasn’t, but I complained over and over about it and exaggerated it. Neither of the two helped me get my way.

Tom is also stubborn and persistent – if he wants something, he’ll come up with a way to get it – he won’t give up until he has. For example, earlier in the book, Tom’s aunt makes him whitewash the fence. As always, Tom would rather be sitting around doing absolutely nothing than painting that fence. So, when friends came along, Tom pretended like he was enjoying himself. He made his friends jealous and tricked them into doing his work for him. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything quite like this, but I have been stubborn many times in the past, especially when I’ve wanted my way and I thought I was right and the other person was wrong. I’m still stubborn today – I won’t compromise my beliefs for anything, no matter what happens, God is still God, no matter what type of difficult times I may go through.

Despite the few similarities between Tom and myself, we are actually two different people. Overall, Tom is an adventurous troublemaker. I’m more of an obedient person, not going against all the rules and not being rebellious, as Tom is. Tom goes out and has all sorts of adventures – he goes down river with Huck and Joe, he and Huck witness a murder, etc. When I was Tom’s age, I never experienced things like this – I was a quiet, studious person; I never skipped school (except, of course, in the event of an actual illness), I was never real rebellious (although I did disobey my parents at times), etc. We just don’t have much in common.

Make predictions about what might happen next

These two chapters talked about Tom’s “pirate” adventure with his friends Joe and Huck. They are basically pretending they are pirates, except they don’t steal from anyone because the Bible says it’s wrong. That seems a bit ironic – they boys are so careful to obey the Bible by not stealing, but they disobey it every time they disobey their parents, or whoever’s in charge of them. The three boys are camped out near a river, cooking all their food over a fire, playing in the river during the day, etc. – they’ve basically run away from home. One evening, Tom goes home (without his family knowing), and finds that his aunt and brother and sister really miss him, but Tom enjoys the fact that he’s missed. He goes back out to camp, as he calls it, where his friends are. Twain mentioned that, if the boys weren’t found after a certain amount of days, they would be considered dead. The title of the next chapter is “Pirates at Their Own Funeral,” so I think that they won’t go back home, but will hear about their funeral and go to it, in secret, of course. Joe and Huck have already gotten homesick, but Tom has gotten their spirits back up and made them want to stay at camp. Regardless, I think that all of them will eventually get homesick and go home, or that they will be found at their funeral, if, in fact, they decide to go to it. I also think that the murder that occurred earlier in the story will be brought back into it later. As I stated in one of my previous responses, the summary on the back cover of the book says that Tom and Becky get trapped in a secret cave. I think that this will probably be one of the major events in the story, and Joe and Huck might come to the rescue of Tom and Becky. If not, though, Tom will think of a clever way to get out of the cave. If the incident with the cave is related to the murder, I think that it will make Tom have second thoughts about the oath of secrecy he made with Huck. I think that Tom will, in the end, tell what actually happened that night in the graveyard and the true murderer – Injun Joe (not the Joe that’s Tom’s friend) will be punished accordingly. I also think that Tom will fix his problems with Becky – she seemed to be upset with him earlier in the book, when she ignored him. I think that they will become friends and that Becky will probably like Tom back and they’ll love each other in a way that someone that age can love someone of the opposite sex.

Express wonder and appreciation

This portion of the book was quite interesting and I really enjoyed reading it. In chapter 17, a funeral service was held for Tom, Joe, and Huck, since they’d been missing for five or so days. Little did the people know, the three boys were sitting in the church, listening to the sermon. The church was full – all the town’s people had gone to mourn the supposed death of Tom, Huck, and Joe. The people were singing songs of mourning, and the pastor was preaching a funeral-sermon. People, especially Joe’s mom and Tom’s aunt, were crying, they missed the two so much. The sorrow didn’t last for long, though; Tom, Joe, and Huck walked sheepishly into the church and all eyes turned in their direction. The people started rejoicing – singing songs, hugging the three boys, etc.

Then, in chapter 18, Tom explains that the whole thing was a joke. He had planned to stay out down river until the evening before the funeral was to be held. That evening, they went back home, but slept in the woods. Early in the morning, before church began, they snuck in and hid among some old pews, where they could listen to their own funeral. Tom’s aunt, as expected, didn’t think the joke was funny at all. When she asked Tom if he thought of her at all, he just said he’d had a dream about her. His aunt didn’t know this, but he actually snuck into his house, listened to a conversation she was having with Joe’s mom, and then snuck back out. Because he heard the whole conversation, he told his aunt what they’d said, and she was amazed that he knew what had gone on. It made her think that there was some reason to be superstitious – there had to be something that made Tom dream exactly what had occurred. In reality, though, there was no reason to be superstitious there. Of the whole book this far, I think this is the part I appreciate the most. It was humorous to read Tom repeating back the words of his aunt’s conversation to her. He did it in such a matter-of-fact way, no one could have ever guessed that he had been in the room listening to the conversation.

The chapter went on to talk about how Tom bragged about his adventure and exaggerated it when telling it to his schoolmates. It also mentioned how Tom pretended to ignore Becky, so she got mad and did it back, and then his heart got broken, etc. It was really funny how they kept doing things back and forth rather than admit they like each other.

Free write about a character or an idea in the selection

In this portion of the book, Twain writes a lot about how Tom lies. In the previous selection, Tom had lied to his aunt, saying he had a dream about her while he was on his adventure. In this portion, his aunt finds out about that. Then, in chapter 20, Becky, the girl Tom likes, finds a book that their teacher reads. This book is normally locked up, but Becky saw the key in the lock and began looking at it. Tom came up behind her and startled her, which made her rip the page. When the teacher found out about the ripped page, he was very upset and tried to find out who did it. Tom took the blame, even though it wasn’t his fault at all. He lied to protect Becky. Although this seems like a nice thing to do, and he and Becky became friends because of it, it was still wrong. There is never a time where it is okay to lie. One of the Ten Commandments says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Although some may say it’s okay to lie to people who aren’t your friend or family or fellow students, etc., they are taking the word neighbor in the wrong way. By looking at the rest of the Bible, we can see that your neighbor is really anyone around you – any one you ever come into contact with, and even those you don’t come into contact with. For example, when Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, he implies that really anyone is our neighbor, even if we are social enemies with him or her. Some people still may argue that it’s okay to lie, if it will protect someone, like Tom did in this portion of the book. They would bring up the example of the time Rahab protected the Jewish spies when they were in Jericho. It was wrong for her to lie, even though God protected her for it. God is all-powerful, he doesn’t need people to disobey Him to protect them. There is a missionary/Bible smuggler I’ve read about called Brother Andrew. He’s smuggled Bibles into Iron Curtain countries, right under the border guard’s noses. It shows that prayer works – every time before doing this, he simply prayed that God would help him to get through. He didn’t lie to the guards – he let them search his entire car, and it was as if they were blinded to the Bibles in his car – it was right under their noses and yet they didn’t see it. Lying in a time of trouble is a sign that a person isn’t placing his or her full trust on God. If a person places his or her complete trust in God, He will do what’s best for them and will reward them for doing what’s right.

Summarize main ideas

In chapter 21, time seemed to pass a bit faster than it did in the earlier part of the book. Twain told how summer was nearing and the teacher was getting stricter and stricter. Because of this, the boys, especially the younger ones, who made more mistakes and, therefore, got beaten more often, did not like the schoolmaster. Every year, to end the school year, a type of graduation was held for the students. Each student had to read a speech they’d written, recite a portion of a famous literary work, etc. Tom got up there and started performing his recitation and then, for some reason, got stage fright and completely forgot his lines. I thought that this was kind of surprising, that a fearless (almost) boy like Tom would just completely forget everything because he was talking in front of a lot of people. He always seemed to enjoy attention and it’s surprising that it actually bothered him once. Even more surprising, though, is that Tom actually memorized something. When the students were supposed to memorize Bible verses in church, Tom never learned them. He’d get prizes for memorization, by trading things of value for little tickets to get the prizes, but very, very rarely did he actually memorize something. At the end of the first of these two chapters, Twain tells how the boys got revenge on their teacher. The man, although not very old, wore a wig, and the boys took advantage of their knowledge of that fact. While the schoolteacher was talking to the people at the graduation, the boys let down a cat from a tree. The cat clawed at the teacher’s wig, made it fall off, and then the boys pulled the cat back up. The boys had finally gotten revenge on their teacher, and he couldn’t do a thing about it.

In chapter 22, Twain told about the Tom’s summer. Early in the summer, he got measles. During that time, there was a revival and everyone was talking about the Bible, except Tom. After two weeks, Tom got better, but later in the summer, he had a relapse of the measles. After recovering from that, he noticed that everyone was back to normal – they were no longer excited about the Bible and talking about it all the time, but everyone had gone back to their normal selves. For example, Tom’s friends were eating a stolen melon. The chapter ended with Twain writing that the people had, like Tom, suffered a relapse.

What impressions do you get of the author

Although, in the preface Twain explains that many of the experiences he describes in the book actually happened either to him or to a friend of his, I think I could have figured that out that from the reading. The descriptions of all the adventures are so detailed and so passionately written, like Twain cares about what he’s writing. The descriptions of Tom’s and his friends’ adventures sounded like they were coming from someone who had actually experienced something very similar to what is being described.

I think the author, like Tom, was probably a mischievous and adventuresome child while growing up. In the book, Twain seemed to do a good job of getting into Tom’s mind and explaining his feelings in different experiences. I’ve never experienced most of the things Tom did, but I can tell that Twain knows a lot about each and every one because of his detailed descriptions of each one. For example, Twain took the time to describe in detail Tom’s experience at church. The minister slowly got through the announcements, the sermon dragged on forever, etc. During this time, Tom would try to catch a fly, or watch a poodle play with a “pincher-bug.”

Another experience Twain described in detail was the time the boys ran away for a few days and lived on an island as “pirates” for those few days. Twain was careful to preserve all the details of the experience, as if he had done the same thing as a boy. He described each day they were on the island – their activities, their thoughts, their emotions, etc. He explained how the boys were getting homesick, even Tom, but Tom told the other boys he had a secret (he wanted to attend his funeral) but they’d have to stay to find out about it.

I really think Twain enjoyed writing this book, as it reminded him of much of his childhood. It’s fun to go back in time and remember the “good old days” or the time where you “were a kid.” All of Twain’s adventurous experiences made the writing experience enjoyable, and I’m sure, when looking back on his childhood, he laughed at many of the things he and his friends did while growing up.

Overall, this was a good book and it helped me to get into Twain’s mind and see what it was like to grow up as a boy in the 1830s, in the South.

Try to paraphrase the “big picture” in your own language

The basic gist of this story was a story about some of the many boyhood experiences of a boy named Tom Sawyer. The majority of these experiences actually occurred in the author’s or his friends’ lives while growing up. The book starts out talking about Tom Sawyer and explaining an average summer day. He is portrayed as a mischievous boy who is always getting into trouble. He lives with his aunt, his younger brother, and his cousin. The first few chapters describe a few consecutive days of Tom’s summer. One day, he tricks his friends into painting his fence for him, another day he trades things he got from the previous day for tickets to get a Bible, etc. As the story goes on though, Twain focuses on one main thing, and the rest of the story revolves around that. Tom still has his every day experiences with school in the fall, the girl he likes – Becky – etc. But, the story mainly revolves around a murder Tom and his friend Huck witness one night in the graveyard. There were three men at the gravesite, digging up the grave, where they kept their treasure. Two of the men got in a fight, and the doctor, the “ring-leader” of the gravedigging, was supposedly killed by Muff Potter, a man who was extremely drunk that night. The true murderer, the third man, Injun Joe, lied to Muff Potter and tells him he (Muff) did it. Tom and Huck are the only witnesses of what actually happened. Although they vow to each other to not tell anyone what they saw, for fear of being killed by Injun Joe if he wasn’t hanged for his crime, Tom, in the end, tells the town what he actually saw. When Joe heard Tom’s testimony, he fled the courtroom and no one was able to catch him. After Tom and Becky get lost in a cave (the cave Injun Joe used for his hideout) for a few days, Becky’s dad has the cave sealed up, without knowing that Injun Joe is still in there. Injun Joe dies from starvation in there, and he is found once he is dead. Twain finishes up the book telling how Tom and Huck go search for the stolen treasure Injun Joe and his fellow criminals had hidden near the cave. The boys, in the end, find the treasure and are allowed to keep it. The money is invested, so they’ll always have it when they need it, and they are given it little by little every week. Twain ends explaining how it’s not easy to find a stopping place when explaining the life of a boy, so he stops here. (Twain says that, if he is writing a story about an adult, a good stopping point is at marriage, but Tom is still a boy, and I’m sure he’s got many more adventures ahead of himself.)

Describe one of the major characters

Physical – I don’t really recall much physical description of Tom Sawyer in the book, but, from the way he acts, I’d guess he’s somewhere between the age of 10 and 12. This seems it’s about that age when boys seem to be the most adventurous and troublesome. Twain does explain, though, that Tom is able to beat up any boy at the school, so that would make me guess he his probably strong and one of the older ones at his school. I don’t really picture him being 15 or 16, or even 14 because he doesn’t seem mature enough to be that old. Today, by the age of 14, guys usually don’t act like Tom does – they aren’t searching for adventure and treasure like Tom does. It’s usually at those younger ages that boys are like that.

Emotional – We don’t see a lot of emotions in Tom’s life, but we do see that he loves his aunt and really likes Becky, one of the girls at his school. When Tom runs away with his friends Joe and Huck, we see him come back home and listen to his aunt’s conversation with Joe’s mother. He starts crying, hearing all the things his aunt says about him and how she loves him. He even kisses her (without her knowing it, of course) on his way back to the island. We also see that he really likes this girl, Becky, and he keeps getting all upset about her, and then the next day he’s in love with her, and the next day he’s mad. He doesn’t have a lot of control over his emotions and the littlest things sway him one way or the other.

Psychological/Other Traits – Tom, as I mentioned before, is portrayed as a very mischievous boy. He’s always trying to get something he doesn’t have. He’s always causing trouble in one way or another. Despite his mischievous actions, his aunt still loves him deeply and he brings much joy to her life. I think he brings joy to a lot of people’s lives – cheering them up by doing funny things. I remember there was one time Tom’s aunt was mad at him, and she was going to spank him for doing something he wasn’t supposed to do. As usual, though, Tom got out of his punishment. He made his aunt look the other way, then ran out of the house and he was free. His aunt became happy again, and no longer wanted to punish him. Despite his mischievous ways, he brought joy to her life and she loved having him around. She couldn’t stand spoiling his fun by spanking him. I’m sure many of the other people in town felt this way, too.

What matters to the author?

I really think that telling a fun, interesting, informal story is the author’s main goal. He had an enjoyable childhood, and wants to share his enjoyment with those who didn’t necessarily have as good a childhood, perhaps because their parents were divorced, or their parents beat them. I also think that Twain’s experiences as a child were very meaningful to him – they helped shape him into the person he is later in life. He describes every one of Tom’s experiences with great detail, like it has a lot of meaning to Twain, and he’s put a lot of thought into describing his childhood in an interesting way.

I think Twain did a good job of reaching his goal and doing what matters to him. As I read the book, I could picture the events as if I was watching them happen. Tom’s (and his friend’s) plights were described as if they actually meant something to the author. Each adventure sounded fun, like the author enjoyed experiencing it.

I really found this an enjoyable book to read. Despite the fact that the book was written over a hundred years ago, it was written in an easy style, so a person of almost any age could understand and enjoy the life of Tom Sawyer. The details were all very vivid and I was able to enjoy the detailed descriptions of each of Tom’s adventures. At times, though, the book got a little boring because there wasn’t always a lot of variety in the stories – Tom was just doing some other type of mischief or causing some type of problem. As the book went on, though, the more in-depth description of the murder and the whole plot associated with that made it more interesting and enjoyable to read. This is probably the first book I’ve read that is as long as it is for the type of writing style the author uses. Usually, books with a simple writing style aren’t this long because the majority of the people reading them are kids, and they get uninterested by the time they get to the 100th page. This just goes to show that the story meant a lot to Twain – the things he described in the book had a huge impact on Twain, and that’s why he was able to write such a long story about his (as well as his friends’) boyhood experiences. Overall, this was an enjoyable book to read, easy to understand, fun to read (except for the time it takes to read). I’d recommend it to anyone who would like to read a simple, laid-back type of fun story.