The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

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Thesis Statement: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is Mark Twain’s best novel because of its use of satire, imagery and symbolism. Tom Sawyer, the main character of the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, written by Mark Twain is an average boy who is bored with his cultured life and escapes these constraints by pulling pranks to other people. He is presented as a realistic and convincing boy. He is kind and loving, but also cruel, stupid and insincere. Tom’s adventures offered him the freedom he longed for and a chance to discover his own moral conscience while escaping the rules of society and acceptable behavior.

But in the end, Tom adheres to society rules and limitations and becomes a responsible person with a desire to be a part of society. Mark Twain used symbols in the Novel, here are some of the symbols and how it was portrayed in the novel. First is Moral and Social Growth, these two aspects of Tom’s growth deal directly with his symbolic and actual withdraw from society. When he leaves town and hides out on Jackson’s Island with his pirates, his departure prepares him to return with a more mature outlook.

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His adventures changed too following that initial departure from society, he went on an unintentionally dangerous outing with Becky Thatcher to the cave, and when he emerges, it’s clear Tom has undergone a rebirth. At the beginning of the novel, Tom looked up to Huck as more mature, but it is clear that by the end of the novel Tom’s maturity has surpassed Huck’s. Why else would he be so insistent Huck stay with the Widow Douglas in order to become civilized. Next is the Cave, in here, what awaits Tom and Becky when they become lost in the cave’s underground passageways is a huge unknown in their young lives.

While lost, they are removed from society and preparing to emerge with new perspectives, just as they move out of the shadows and into new, fresh light. Because Tom shows himself he can survive based on his own determination and resourcefulness, he also proves to the reader that he’s able to return to society. Another symbol are the storms, there are two storms of note, one on Jackson’s Island when the boys are hiding out and one that hits when Tom is sick.

The Jackson’s Island storm is a very real representation of the danger the boys face when they’re removed from their very closed-minded society, there is no ne to protect them except each other, and that in turn can introduce new fears and further rites of passage. The storm that hits when Tom is sick leads him to believe God’s wrath is directed at him. As such, it becomes an outward symbol of Tom’s own guilty conscience. Next is the treasure, the role of the treasure is significant in that it marks Tom’s official passage into adulthood and Huck’s social inclusion. In addition, it is a symbol of the end of their journey through the novel, and it marks them as heroes in the end, as unique and remarkable as the sum of money they have come into.

Lastly, freedom as a result of social exclusion, if there’s any solid representation of this theme, it’s in Huckleberry Finn. Clearly, in the schoolboys’ eyes he is the epitome of a free lifestyle, he gets to fish, smoke a pipe, and run on his own schedule simply because he’s from the wrong side of the tracks. By the end of the story when the boys have attained great wealth, Huckleberry Finn’s social inclusion comes at a great price, he loses his freedom because Widow Douglas effectively adopts him and forces him to behave like a regular member of society.

To conclude, after a closer analysis of the symbols, the main character portrays maturity in his act as the story proceeds. He becomes mature in three aspects which include his adventures with Huckleberry Finn, his courtship with Becky and also his daily experiences. There are many incidents in the novel that shows Tom is transforming into mature young man from a whimsical troublemaker. According to the British Quarterly review in October 1876, it is stated that, “an unscrupulous scapegrace is sure to turn out a noble young man”.

The experiences that Tom had are helping him to be a noble person. But, he did not become really mature throughout the story, as some of his acts were still childish. His maturation is not totally coherent. Yet, he is still transforming into responsible a young man. There will be times that you’ll be minded of your childhood undertakings and came to reveal early memories. Twain sets up a rewarding novel that makes people rethink the advantaged of both freedom and civilization.


“An Analysis of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn.” 15 Mar 2013 <>
“The adventures of Tom Sawyer.” NovelGuide. 16 march 2013 <>. Twain, Mark. The Adventure of Tom Sawyer with afterward by Keith Neilson. Bantam Classic Edition. US: Bantam Books, Inc. , 1981. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The American Publishing Company, 1876.

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