The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer
Tom Sawyer, an orphan, lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, Missouri sometime in the 1840s. A fun-loving boy, Tom skips school to go swimming and is made to whitewash his aunt's fence for the entirety of the next day, Saturday, as punishment. In one of the most famous scenes in American literature, Tom cleverly persuades the various neighbourhood children to trade him small trinkets and treasures for the "privilege" of doing his tedious work, using reverse psychology to convince them it is an enjoyable activity. Tom later trades the trinkets with other students for various denominations of tickets, obtained at the local Sunday school for memorizing verses of Scripture; he cashes these into the minister to win a much-coveted Bible offered to studious children as a prize, despite being one of the worst students in the Sunday school and knowing almost nothing of Scripture, eliciting envy from the students and a mixture of pride and shock from the adults. Tom falls in love with Becky Thatcher, a new girl in town and the daughter of a prominent judge. Tom wins the admiration of the judge in the church by obtaining the Bible as a prize but reveals his ignorance when he is unable to answer basic questions about Scripture. Tom pursues Becky, eventually persuading her to get "engaged" by kissing him. However, their romance soon collapses when she discovers that Tom was previously "engaged" to another schoolgirl, Amy Lawrence and that Becky was not his first girlfriend. Shortly after Becky shuns him, Tom accompanies Huckleberry Finn, a vagrant boy whom all the other boys admire, to a graveyard at midnight to perform a superstitious ritual designed to heal warts. At the graveyard, they witness a trio of body snatchers, Dr Robinson, Muff Potter, and Injun Joe, robbing a grave. Muff Potter is drunk and eventually blacks out, while Injun Joe gets into a fight with Dr Robinson and murders him. Injun Joe then appears to frame Muff Potter for the murder. Tom and Huckleberry Finn swear a blood oath not to tell anyone about the murder, fearing Injun Joe would somehow discover it was them and murder them in turn. Muff Potter is eventually jailed, assuming he committed the killing in an act of drunkenness and accepting of his guilt and fate. Tom grows bored by school, and along with his best friend Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn, they run away to Jackson's Island in the Mississippi River to begin life as "pirates". While enjoying their new-found freedom, they become aware that the community is sounding the river for their bodies, as the boys are missing and presumed dead. Tom sneaks back home one night to observe the commotion, and after a brief moment of remorse at his loved ones' suffering, he is struck by the grand idea of appearing at his funeral.
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About the Author
Mark Twain (1835-1910) was born Samuel L. Clemens in the town of Florida, Missouri. One of the most popular and influential authors our nation has ever produced, his keen wit and incisive satire earned him praise from both critics and peers. He has been called not only the greatest humorist of his age but also the father of American literature.