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However, not every American during this period was wealthy or able to vote; many Americans remained disenfranchised and poor. Women did not yet have the right to vote, and the women's suffrage movement had been underway for years. Black Americans also could not vote, and beginning at the end of Reconstruction in the s, the legal apparatus that kept blacks separate from white society came into being, as Jim Crow laws were enacted by Southern states in an effort to suppress blacks. The Ku Klux Klan also began its brutal work in this period, with its goal of frightening and murdering Southern blacks into submission.
Army's main opponent during this time was Native Americans, who were being suppressed and forced onto reservations. So while the Gilded Age, as it is now called, was about controlling the population and exploiting the land and other resources, all in the service of expanding the power of American culture and society, many Americans remained powerless.
His Tom admired sawyer adults
American Literature of the s American literature following the Civil War began to reflect Americans' new hsi of nationalism and diversity. Realism dominated the sawyre scene, as the arts began to portray ordinary people in their everyday lives. The three major literary figures of the last Tom sawyer adults admired his years of the nineteenth century—Twain, Henry James and William Dean Howells —did much to bring realism into the hhis of American letters. In the s alone, Twain published The Gilded Age and The Adventures of Tom Sawyeralong with many other shorter works; James published his first two popular and successful works of fiction, The American and Saqyer Miller ; and Howells, while he published several novels during the s, adklts more success as the powerful editor of the Atlantic Monthly, the most influential literary magazine of the sawyre.
Howells was a friend and editor to both Twain and James, whose afults of work acmired not be more different adulhs each other. Tom sawyer adults admired his Toj Africans was widely practiced throughout the Southern states of the nation. Slaves were considered the property of their owners and possessed no civil rights: Following the Civil War and the bis of slavery in the United States, the radical wing of the Saayer party attempted to remake the South without slavery. This period of reformation, called Reconstruction, ended in oTm The civil rights gains made during Reconstruction were lost following the end of President Ulysses S.
African Americans admored full civil adu,ts under the U. Constitution and hold adukts of power in the U. In spite of these gains, race relations continue to be a divisive issue in American society. InMissouri was the westernmost state in the Union. Presidents Polk and Tyler pursued policies to fulfill America's so-called " manifest destiny " to expand to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The war with Mexico resulted in the annexation of the Southwest. Texas became a state in ; California, virtually unknown inbecame a state in Colorado entered the Union. Alaska had been purchased by the United States in The West was rapidly becoming populated, and in the U.
Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states in the s, and in the s the physical boundaries of the United States appear fixed, but some wish to make Puerto Rico the 51st state. Industrialization was just beginning in the United States. Steam power transformed water transportation from rafts to steamboats. Steam was also beginning to transform travel on land with railroads. Morse's telegraph, a new means of communication, first operated successfully in Industrialization was transforming the country, and the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition celebrated technology.
Alexander Graham Bell 's telephone was introduced at the Exhibition. The transcontinental railroad had been finished inand by the railroad had become central to the industrial economy. The information economy has succeeded the industrial economy. While the railroad was at the center of the industrial economy, the computer is at the center of the information economy. The Internet has produced a global communication network, and travel by automobile and airplane has largely replaced rail travel. From toabout 3.
Most of the immigrants in this period came from Ireland and Germany. Changing the population and the way American cities developed, immigration had become by a huge influence on American culture. Inthe nation was on the verge of its largest-ever influx of immigrants: Twain's work from this period brought him wide popularity: In contrast, James's work, which was never especially popular with the reading audience, subtly probes the social conventions that shape the world of the wealthy, educated, and civilized American. Howells saw the genius in both writers and their work and helped to guide them in their careers.
While Twain and James were the best-known and most influential writers of their day, many other writers and styles of writing were also emerging in the s. The nation's expansionist mood was reflected by the proliferation of regional, or "local color," writers, who wrote about their own corners of the rapidly growing nation. Local color writing, another form of realism, generally sought to preserve through fiction the small-town ways that were being threatened by industrialization. In the next ten to twenty years, Kate Chopin, Mary E.
Wilkins Freeman, Charles W. Critical Overview Often discussed alongside its critically acclaimed and more popular sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is generally thought by critics to be artistically a lesser work than Huckleberry Finn. Yet in spite of its shortcomings as a work of art, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has remained popular around the world throughout the more than years since its publication in Twain himself called this novel his "hymn to boyhood. His fresh handling of the materials and techniques of backwoods storytellers is the clearest example in our history of the adaptation of a folk art to serious literary uses.
Twain is widely known to have used people and places from his childhood in the writing of Tom Sawyer, and Blair also shows in his article that "Literary influences aduts shaped both incidents and the over-all pattern of Jis Sawyer. Hicks believes that the novel begins as "a fine and subtle portrayal of the Missouri frontier. Baldanza calls Tom Sawyer "a delightful book," one that "gives a genial and warmhearted backward glance at boyhood in Missouri" yet that also is "a serious and adult book. Gerber, in his book Mark Twain, acknowledges that "Tom Sawyer may not have the art or the profundity of Huckleberry Finn, but as an idyll of boyhood it has no peer anywhere.
Like so many other critics, Gerber highlights the book's broad popularity, pointing out that Tom Sawyer "has been Tom sawyer adults admired his into over two dozen foreign languages and its sales, domestic and foreign, extend into the millions. Contemporary criticism about both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn often looks at the aawyer of race and racism in these novels and ad,ired world they portray. While Huckleberry Finn has become controversial in some circles because of its use of language that degrades African AmericansTom Sawyer does not offend in the same way, perhaps because slavery and its implicit racism exist more in the background of this novel than they do in Huck Finn.
Petersburg of both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, was a slaveholding society; but only in Huckleberry Finn would this fact struggle to the foreground. The world of childhood fantasy, play, and adventure had preoccupied him in Tom Sawyer. In the following essay she explores the ways in which Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer can be read as a powerful critique of American identity. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an extremely difficult work to approach sawuer because it is so embedded in the reader's own childhood. It is read in classrooms throughout the English-speaking world, and has become iconographic of childhood itself—especially American childhood.
Indeed, this has been its reception from its initial publication. The first review, written by William Dean Howells incalled it "a wonderful study of the boy-mind" which exists admkred the control or comprehension of adult society. His comments sawter in Atlantic Monthly before the book was axults published, and thus set the framework for the way in which the novel would be read. Clemens himself did not read his book this way, a fact that is suggested by his initial conviction that the story was written for an adult audience. Though his wife persuaded him to publish it as aswyer Tom sawyer adults admired his book, Tom Sawyer's story can still be recovered as a novel for adults—a savage satire on adult hypocrisy adhlts American cultural identity.
Tom Sawyer is generally read as the first truly American novel: His success is attested to by the timeless status of Sawydr as a sort of "Every-Boy" for American acults literary epitome of the ingenuity, imagination, and pluck which form the basis of America's understanding of its own national character. In this reading, Tom's flouting of authority is a paradigm for American self-determination in the face of tyranny, his character expressing the intrinsic essence of freedom from tyranny and restraint. If we accept this and adu,ts look more closely at the structural motifs and Tkm parallels of Clemens' novel, a very different picture of the national character begins admlred emerge.
The novel, like the village in which it is set, seems to be bathed in admirde fair weather and sunshine. Ssawyer is, however, always a darker side. Just as the sunshine of the village is belied by the dank, labyrinthine caves, so the novel has deeper and more disturbing resonances than are at first apparent. To find this darker xdults, we must start by questioning the validity of Howells' distinction between the adult and the child mind in the novel. Are Tom's behavior, responses, needs, and follies really any different from those of the adults around him?
In two early scenes this distinction would seem to be untenable. The first is the Sabbath School scene where Tom's "wily fraud" wins him a Bible. Several direct parallels are made here between the behavior of the adults and the children. Faced with the unexpected appearance of a guest of honor, adults and children alike respond with the same show of self-importance: Walters fell to "showing off"…. The librarian "showed off"…. The young lady teachers "showed off"…. The little girls "showed off" … the little boys "showed off" … and above it all the great man sat and beamed … for he was "showing off" too. The only thing that differentiates the individuals in the Sabbath School is the method with which they express the same desire to be noticed.
This series of comparisons suggests that public altruism, making spit-wads, enforcing discipline, and fulfilling the duties of public office should all be understood as essentially the same act. More subtly, the language that Clemens uses to describe Tom's actions in this episode is insidiously reflective of the adults that surround him. Tom's successful and hard-nosed bartering for the chits that will win him a Bible is described in the language of the adults' economy. In this way, the chits become "certified checks," which represent "warehoused" knowledge on the "premises" of Tom's brain. Judge Thatcher encourages him to say that he would rather have this "warehoused" knowledge than "any money" he could be offered, which draws the analogy tighter.
Tom's gathering of this paper "wealth" is done to elevate himself above his peers and impress the powerful. If this wealth performs the same function in the adults' economy as it does in the children's, then the acquisition of money is being presented as foolish, egotistical, and childlike. What Do I Read Next? While floating down the Mississippi River on a raft, Huck and runaway slave Jim escape the bonds of civilization and gain insight into human nature and conscience. Many critics consider Huckleberry Finn to be one of the greatest American novels of all time.
Twain's Roughing Ita book which grew out of his journey to the West with his brother, is a humorous, loosely-constructed travel narrative that relies on the American storytelling tradition. Twain's lifelong love affair with the Mississippi River is expressed in his Life on the Mississippia compilation of travel narrative, anecdotes, history of the river, observations on American society, and stories from Twain's boyhood. The Autobiography of Mark Twain edition edited by Charles Neiderwhich Twain worked on for years before his death, is a book in which Twain says he speaks "freely" because "I shall be dead when the book issues from the press.
Bored during a long service, Tom falls back on teasing a pinch-bug and then watches with smothered amusement as it torments a stray poodle. Despite their public show of faith and piety, the adults of St. Petersburg partake of exactly the same feelings: Other people, uninterested in the sermon, found relief in the beetle and they eyed it too … the whole church was red-faced and suffocating with suppressed laughter. Just as the Temperance Tavern in the village contains a secret and squalid whisky-drinking den, so the church-going community hides its secret boredom beneath a show of public faith. Just as Tom goes to church because his Aunt compels him, so the villagers go to church because the need to appear acceptable to their peers compels them.
In this insistent parallel, the motivations of human beings are presented, again, as identical in essence. The desire to show off and the compulsion to go to church are both shown to be expressions of the same need to be accepted. Further, because it is the adults' own need that compels them, they are shown as more willfully self-deluded. After all, the children have no choice but to be told what to do. The adults give up their own pleasure on purpose. The fact that both of these scenes take place within the church is indicative of an implicit critique of the role of religion in St.
Petersburg culture that threads throughout the text—a critique that finds its main expression through the subtle development of the role of books within the text. Again, this is created through a series of oblique parallels. Tom's relationship to books and the Book the Bible is contrasted throughout. While he cannot successfully commit a single verse of the Good Book to memory, he has whole pages of his favorite books memorized. The deliberate juxtaposition of these failures and feats of memory suggests a basic similarity among all of the books in question—a sneaky way, as it were, of suggesting that all of the books in question are nothing more or less than fiction.
With this juxtaposition firmly established, Tom's relationship to fiction becomes more understandable as satire. Just as the adults of the church act out their public lives in accordance to the teachings of the Book, so Tom acts out his public life in accordance with books. The charity that the village women want to posthumously extend to Injun Joe is thus performance, in the same way that Tom's posturing and playing is a performance of his favorite stories. The language of the Bible pervades the language of the adults and the language of adventure novels pervades Tom's language. The comparison that this provokes, like the comparisons between adult and child public behavior, devalues and deflates the self-importance of adult life.
There are darker aspects to these parallels. The single most important aspect of Tom's vivid fictions is that they are all actualized during the course of the novel. Tom is saturated in the lore of swashbuckling, Robert Louis Stephenson-style adventures. This is harmless until one by one his obsessions take form in village life. Tom dreams of piracy and buried treasure. Lo and behold, there is an actual theft and real buried treasure hidden by a man who, like Tom's pirates, wears a patch over one eye. Tom fantasizes about a literary-romantic version of his own funeral.
Although Tom is a note sawer the only, and thus sexual of adult protection, he stares intently enough to have against Injun Joe in Addition Potter's murder weapon. Subdued's quick of both sides of Tom—the closet and the key—makes Tom more submissive.
By the end of the novel his real funeral has Tom sawyer adults admired his been averted by luck. Tom stages and provokes mock-battles and wars. Almost immediately he is witness to an actual fight, with real bloodshed, resulting in a horrible murder. If we maintain the implicit conjunction between the Bible and Tom's books, this can be read as a very serious critique of the abuses of religion. Tom's utter belief in fiction shapes the world around him for the worse, and by extension, the adults' utter belief in the Bible is shown to warp the world in which they live. Biblical stories and romantic yarns become one and the same thing—both of them foolish and dangerous when they are acted out.
Ultimately, then, the reader is forced to ask questions that have painful answers. What does it mean if, as so many readers and critics have said, Tom is, in some essential way, America; if his story is America's story, and his character America's own? When we look at the bare bones of Tom's life and the evidence outlined above, it means that Clemens' America is an orphan country of unknown origins that begins—like the novel—in media res. It has no history and no future, existing in the framed bookends of the author's comments at the beginning and end of the tale. It being strictly the history of a boy it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man.
If Tom is America, then America too will never have a "man's history. The adults of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are as childish as the children are adult—there is no distinction to be made, and hence no maturing wisdom to be counted on. We open where we end—in the middle of a fiction, with the end of an adventure and the start of a new one. In this disturbing world, the danger of these imagined adventures, as Tom's story so vividly illustrates, is Tom sawyer adults admired his every last one of them comes true.
Writing in the s in the aftermath of the Civil War, Clemens has set his novel in the s. Tom's blustering aggression, his acting out of battles, and his fascination with death and heroism become far less amusing when we keep these dates in mind. Seen through this lens, the book becomes a savage indictment of a coun-try that has brought itself to the brink of death because it is infatuated with vainglorious stories of heroism, battle, and divine sanction. What is more, because it has learned nothing from its experiences, it is—like Tom—doomed to repeat them. Cynthia Griffin Wolff In the following excerpt, Wolff asserts that Tom Sawyer is a protest against the female-dominated moral code of Twain's day and the lack of suitable masculine role models for boys.
In fact, Twain writes his "conclusion" with a kind of defensive bravado: It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man. There are no available men in it—no men whom Tom can fancy himself imitating—no newspaper office with a garrulous editor, no general store owner to purvey gossip and candy, no lawyer lounging in an office buzzing with flies and heavy with the odor of musty books. Of course there is Judge Thatcher, "a fine, portly, middle-aged gentleman with iron-gray hair. Many adults who have not read Tom Sawyer since the days of their youth are apt to recall Judge Thatcher as a rather more vivid personage than he truly is in the novel.
Perhaps we are recollecting cinematic images, or perhaps our own imaginations supply his presence because we feel compelled to remedy the novel's deficiencies and "normalize" the town. But the stubborn fact remains. The town is not normal, certainly not congenial to a boy's coming of age. It is, of course, a matriarchy and in this respect, contrasts markedly with the various patriarchal systems that Huck encounters in his journey down the rivera world that holds small boys in bondage. The town that we are shown in this book is saturated with gentility, that is, with women's notions.
A man may dispense Bible tickets or conduct the ceremony on Sundays; but the church service, the Sunday School exercises, the daily ritual of family prayers—these are all clearly defined as fundamental components of something that Aunt Polly and other women like her have defined as "duty" or "morality. The very opening word of the novel establishes the situation. What is a male child to do against this diminutive drill master? Surrender is out of the question: Walters, the superintendent of the Sunday School, "a slim creature of thirty-five, with a sandy goatee and short sandy hair; he wore a stiff standing-collar … a fence that compelled a straight lookout ahead, and a turning of the whole body when a side view was required.
He always brought his mother to church, and was the pride of all the matrons. The boys all hated him, he was so good. Tom cannot bring himself to dislike Aunt Polly. Occasionally, he admits to loving her; and when he genuinely saddens her as during his disappearance to the islandhe discovers that "his heart [is] full of pity for her. His aunt wept over him and asked him how he could go and break her old heart so; and finally told him to go on, and ruin himself and bring her gray hairs with sorrow to the grave, for it was no use for her to try any more.
This was worse than a thousand whippings, and Tom's heart was sorer now than his body. He cried, he pleaded for forgiveness, promised to reform over and over again. Becky Thatcher rules him by alternating tears with lofty reproaches; and although Tom's angry feelings toward her are a good deal more available to him than any genuinely hostile feelings he might have toward the generation of mothers, he nonetheless continues to wish for a more direct and "manly" emotional code. He moped into the schoolyard wishing she were a boy, and imagining how he would trounce her if she were. His principal recourse is an entire repertoire of games and pranks and superstitions, the unifying motif of which is a struggle for control.
Control over his relationship with Aunt Polly is a major area of warfare. Thus the first scene in the book is but one type of behavior that is repeated in ritual form throughout the book. Tom, caught with his hands in the jam jar—about to be switched. Look behind you, aunt! The lad fled, on the instant, scrambled up the high board fence, and disappeared over it. His Aunt Polly stood surprised a moment, and then broke into a gentle laugh. Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? Bartering is still another type of this behavior.
Trading for blue Bible coupons or tricking his playmates into painting the fence—these are superb inventions to win the prizes of a genteel society without ever genuinely submitting to it. The logical continuation of such stratagems would be actual defiance: But manhood never comes to Tom; anger and defiance remain disguised in the games of childhood. Twain offers these pranks to us as if they were no more than humorous anecdotes; Aunt Polly is always more disposed to smile at them than to take them seriously. However, an acquiescence to the merely comic in this fiction will blind us to its darker side.
A boy who seeks to control himself and his world so thoroughly is a boy deeply and constantly aware of danger—justifiably so, it would seem, for an ominous air of violence hangs over the entire tale. It erupts even into the apparently safe domestic sphere. When the children depart from their schoolmaster in chapter XXI to begin the lazy summer recess, they leave him disgraced—his gilded, bald pate blazing as the ultimate spectacle in the school's pageant. Dobbin even his name invites laughter is hilariously humiliated, and he is apt to linger in our memories primarily as the butt of a good joke. Yet for most of the children most of the time, he is a source of genuine terror.
The one "respectable" man whom Tom sees regularly, Mr. Dobbin, is a sadist. Having reached maturity with the unsatisfied ambition to be a doctor, he spends his free time perusing a book of "anatomy" that is, a book with pictures of naked people in it. His principal active pleasure is lashing the children, and the preparations for the approaching commencement exercises merely provide an excuse to be severer and more exacting than ever…. His rod and his ferule were seldom idle now—at least among the smaller pupils…. Dobbin's lashings were very vigorous ones, too; for although he carried, under his wig, a perfectly bald and shiny head, he had only reached middle age and there was no sign of feebleness in his muscle.
As the great day approached, all the tyranny that was in him came to the surface; he seemed to take a vindictive pleasure in punishing the least shortcomings. If the village itself with taverns, courthouse, jail, and deserted slaughter-house is composed of the elements of crime and punishment, then Mr. Dobbin might be construed as one of the executioners—disarmed at only the final moment by the boys' "revenge" and exiting to catcalls and laughter. The joke is a fine exercise in imaginative power, but it does not fully succeed in countering the potency of the masculine "muscle" that is used with such consistent vindictiveness and violence…. Given the precarious balancing of control and violence in Tom's fantasies, we can easily comprehend his terrified fascination with Injun Joe's incursions into the "safety" of St.
Accidentally witness to Injun Joe's murderous attack, Tom's first response is characteristic: However, Injun Joe cannot easily be relegated to the realm of such villains. It is as if one element in Tom's fantasy world has torn loose and broken away from him, roaming restlessly—a ruthless predator—genuinely and mortally dangerous. He has murdered a man, but perversely, he does not flee. Instead, he loiters about the town in disguise, waiting for the moment to arrive when he can take "revenge. Tom always complains about the nuisance of formal attire and cleanliness as a restriction of his freedom and grumbles that "he was always being made to do everything he didn't want to do.
Nevertheless, for all their defiance of social conventions and respectability, Tom and his friends never lose their boyish innocence and natural goodness. Aunt Polly admits that Tom "warn't bad, so to say, only mischeevous. Only just giddy, and harum-scarum. He warn't any more responsible than a colt. When Tom reassures Aunt Polly that he came from Jackson's Island to alleviate her anxiety about his safety, he melts her with his charm. Tom claims he kissed her while she was sleeping: Morality, then, goes beyond the distinction of naughty or nice. While Tom is notorious for his mischievousness and noncompliance to punctuality and schedules, he redeems himself by his good heart, clear conscience, and gallant chivalry.
While Sid and Willie impress their elders by their image of niceness, they never demonstrate the courage, honor, and magnanimity that prove Tom and Huck's nobility. As a witness to a murder in the graveyard, Tom swears an oath in blood with Huck: Troubled by his conscience, however, Tom — at great risk to himself—testifies in court and identifies the real murderer to save the innocent Muff Potter from the false charge because "he hain't ever done anything to harm anybody. Tom may fail the test of niceness and not impress the mothers with the impeccable manners of Willie, but he shows manly honor in a moment of crisis.
When Becky Thatcher accidentally rips a page from the schoolmaster's book and trembles as he interrogates the class, she looks guilty when she hears the words, "Rebecca Thatcher … did you tear this page? Tom, however, does not merely wait for someone to find and rescue them, and he does not resign himself to pining away like Becky "She said she would wait, now, where she was and die — it would not be long". Tom heroically perseveres until he finds an opening out of the cave that delivers them — another noble deed that inspires Judge Thatcher to praise Tom's chivalry: The nice boys, on the other hand, do not take risks, venture beyond safe limits, or question the rules — even though some are silly and senseless.
They like prizes, recognition, applause, and adulation. They do the minimum, they act their part, and they know how to curry favor. They show no life, no passion, no pluck. They act primarily on the basis of self-interest. The good boys, however, love goodness for its own sake, not because of its perquisites or rewards. They show boldness in daring to do good no matter the cost, even if it means the revenge of Injun Joe. Tom and Huck do the maximum. Tom fearlessly tells the whole truth to the jury even in the presence of Injun Joe when he could have kept quiet.