Stories we Tell Ourselves

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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“MONDAY morning found Tom Sawyer miserable. Monday morning always found him so — because it began another week’s slow suffering in school. He generally began that day with wishing he had had no intervening holiday, it made the going into captivity and fetters again so much more odious.”

The first paragraph of Chapter Six is forever etched in my mind and I am sure it’s a representation world over of the trepidation people feel when Monday looms. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a light hearted, yet thought provoking poke at what makes us human. It enraptures us with the adventures of a boy allergic to school- a necessary evil, so to speak- who, at the end, shows us that ingenuity and a resilient spirit can move mountains.

The characters are outstanding too. There is poor Aunt Molly who has a hard time containing her mischievous nephew; though she has her revenge when, in the vivid imagery of the author, “The old lady made one end of the silk thread fast to Tom’s tooth with a loop and tied the other to the bedpost. Then she seized the chunk of fire and suddenly thrust it almost into the boy’s face. The tooth hung dangling by the bedpost, now.”

There is Jim, who, together with others, unwittingly helps Tom whitewash their face- three coats of whitewash at that to the utter amazement of Aunt Polly who attributes it to the lazy fellow! There is Huckleberry Finn, whom the schoolchildren are not supposed to talk to, Becky Thatcher, Sid, Joe Harper and Injun Joe who commits a murder and lets another man be hanged for it; almost as Tom saves the day and has to live in terror up to the last page of the book.

All in all, the book is an easy read, engaging and follows the compassionate acts of a boy trying to be just a boy. And just to get you in the mood for the book, you might want to listen to the tune ‘In the sweet by and by.’

The book is a classic and is authored by Mark Twain, the pseudonym of one Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

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