The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 25 Jan 2007
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"One of the great scholarly enterprises of the century. . . . If you want to enjoy, and to understand fully, the genius of Mark Twain, the California editions are the only texts to have." "London Telegraph [Michael Shelden] --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Mark Twain's funny and heartwarming story of a Mississippi childhood --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course, this aspect is a minor part of a collection of stories that paint an endearing picture of mid 19th century smalltown USA. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are a mischievous pair, always thinking up new games and having the kind of childhood that many an adult would wish to have copied. The book gives a real insight into how their community functioned, the spirit that bound it together and the rules upon which it was built. The language used is, by Twain's own admission, his take on the many dialects from the Mississippi basin, and whilst it does not always flow as smoothly as modern English, it is easy to understand. It is not for me to pass judgement on the quality of the books, there are many people who are far more qualified than me to do that, but the stories are simple, beautifully written and draw the reader into a world that we have left behind.
I never read this at school, but wish that I had.
From witnessing murder, to being stuck in caves, the reader never suspects a bad ending for anyone but the baddies themselves. Tom is always utterly safe. I suspect that's why we readers love TS, because it takes us to the idyllic childhood we all wish we'd had, but that can never truly have existed... envisioned as it is in a vacuum, free from danger, free from conscience.
Writing Huckleberry Finn (HF) a few years later, the author was unwilling to repeat this feat. Although there is humour and boyish-shenanigans aplenty, Twain was no longer able to ignore the racism in America at that time, nor indeed "whitewash" slavery from this work as he had TS. Twain uses his "sequel" to focus on the escaped slave Jim, and his search for freedom, recalled through the eyes, and more importantly, the rhythmic vernacular of Huck.
Many scholars now read HF as a satire of American attitudes at the time; the farcical treatment of Jim towards the end of the novel is seen as a parallel to the continued gross injustices suffered by the black population after the abolition of slavery. It is Jim's kindness and compassion that shines through, whilst Huck struggles throughout with his own (and society's) views towards slavery in the light of the reality of Jim.Read more ›
Like many young people, Tom would rather be having fun than going to school and church. This desire to enjoy life is always getting him into trouble, from which he finds unusual and imaginative solutions. One of the great scenes in this book has Tom persuading his friends to help him whitewash a fence by making them think that nothing could be finer than doing his punishment for playing hooky from school. When I first read this story, it opened up my mind to the potential power of persuasion.
Tom also is given up for dead and has the unusual experience of watching his own funeral and hearing what people really thought of him. That's something we all should be able to do. By imagining what people will say at our funeral, we can help establish the purpose of our own lives. Mark Twain has given us a powerful tool for self-examination in this wonderful sequence.
Tom and Huck Finn also witness a murder, and have to decide how to handle the fact that they were not supposed to be there and their fear of retribution from the murderer, Injun Joe.
Girls are a part of Tom's life, and Becky Thatcher and he have a remarkable adventure in a cave with Injun Joe. Any young person will remember the excitement of being near someone they cared about alone in this vignette.
Tom stands for the freedom that the American frontier offered to everyone. His aunt Polly represents the civilizing influence of adults and towns. Twain sets up a rewarding novel that makes us rethink the advantages of both freedom and civilization. In this day of the Internet frontier, this story can still provide valuable lessons about listening to our inner selves and acting on what they have to say. Enjoy looking for fun in new ways!