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汤姆历险记的分析-An Explication on Tom Sawyer

汤姆历险记的分析-An Explication on Tom Sawyer

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Published by Jeffery Chen
Glenish An Explication on Tom Sawyer The first part of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer discusses Tom’s childhood, a time of playfulness and fun. As the novel progresses, this simple time of joy fades away when he goes on adventures in murder, love, suspense and personal potential danger. These adventures push him to transition from boyhood to adulthood, and achieve a greater level of maturity. Childhood can be contrasted with the routine life of adulthood. Throughout the novel, a numbe
Glenish An Explication on Tom Sawyer The first part of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer discusses Tom’s childhood, a time of playfulness and fun. As the novel progresses, this simple time of joy fades away when he goes on adventures in murder, love, suspense and personal potential danger. These adventures push him to transition from boyhood to adulthood, and achieve a greater level of maturity. Childhood can be contrasted with the routine life of adulthood. Throughout the novel, a numbe

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Published by: Jeffery Chen on Jan 14, 2011
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 1GlenishAn Explication on Tom Sawyer The first part of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer discusses Tom’schildhood, a time of playfulness and fun. As the novel progresses, this simple time of joyfades away when he goes on adventures in murder, love, suspense and personal potentialdanger. These adventures push him to transition from boyhood to adulthood, and achievea greater level of maturity. Childhood can be contrasted with the routine life of adulthood.Throughout the novel, a number of events are based on Twain’s personal memories of growing up in Hannibal. As he states in his preface to the novel: “Most of the adventuresrecorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the restthose of boys who were schoolmates of mine” (Twain 3).Tom’s playful and innocent adventures include fighting with Alfred Temple, anewcomer to his town, playing make-believe games with his friends, lying to his AuntPolly, dealing with Sid, his half-brother, persuading his peers to do all his whitewashingwork, and making his current girlfriend cry by accidentally revealing his former engagement with his ex-girlfriend, Amy Lawrence. Everything changes when Tom andHuck, the son of a town drunk, witness the murder of Dr. Robinson. This tragedy is oneof the significant moments, which shows Tom moving into an adult world and maturingfrom a troublemaker into a caring young man. As Tom’s adventures proceed, six morecritical moments show Tom changing from making childish decisions to mature andresponsible decisions. These critical moments include the wrongful imprisonment of Muff Potter and Tom’s testimony at Potter’s trial, his adventure on Jackson’s island,saving Becky from punishment, and his navigation out of the cave. In the conclusion of 
 
 2Twain’s novel, he writes, “It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the storycould not go much further without becoming the history of a man. When one writes anovel about grown people, he knows exactly where to stop” (247). This quote illustratesthat Tom is now a grown young man and has matured during his adventures.Tom’s innocent childhood includes fighting, which reflects his aggressivepersonality. When Tom encounters Alfred Temple, a newcomer to his town, they insulteach other and then begin to fight. Tom beats up the newcomer and chases him off.Twain writes, “The new boy went off brushing the dust from his clothes, sobbing,snuffling, and occasionally looking back and shaking his head and threatening what hewould do to Tom the ‘next time he caught his out’” (16). This quote shows that Tom isaggressive and immature because he uses force when engaging in conflict with hisantagonist. The article “A review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” states that “He iscruel, as all children are, but chiefly because he is ignorant.”Tom’s boyhood also consists of playing, which echoes his inventive nature. Tomplays make-believe games with his friends. In the town square, he plays with a group of boys by fighting in a mock battle. Twains says, “Tom was General of one of these armies,Joe Harper (a bosom friend) General of the other. These two great commanders did notcondescend to fight in person… Tom’s army won a great victory, after a long and hard-fought battle” (Twain 25). This quote reveals that Tom’s childhood can also be describedas entertaining.Lying to his Aunt Polly shows Tom’s childishness and immaturity. When AuntPolly thinks that Tom skips school and goes swimming, Tom shows her that his collar isstill sewn and was never taken off. However, Sid finds the flaw and says, “Well, now, if I
 
 3didn’t think you sewed his collar with white thread, but it is black” (12). Tom tells lies,but he just “…resorts to any stratagem to keep out of school, but he is not a downrightliar,” as it is illustrated in the article “Overview: The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain” (Clemens 1). Telling lies and skipping school are parts of all children’s nature.Sid resembles Henry, Twain’s younger brother, in his real life. Twain says in hisautobiography, “It was Henry who called my mother’s attention to the fact that thethread...had changed color. My mother would not have discovered it…That detailprobably added a detail to my punishment” (Twain 33). This quote shows that Twain’schildhood is similar to Tom’s because they are both playful and lie about not having goneswimming.Tom reacts childishly when he is blamed. At dinner, Sid breaks the sugar bowl,and Tom is falsely accused of breaking it. He feels mistreated, melancholy, and imagineshow sorry Aunt Polly will be if he ends up dead. As Twain writes, “…he would die-outin the cold world, with no shelter over his homeless head, no friendly hand to wipe thedeath-damps from his brow, no loving face to bend pityingly over him when the greatagony came” (Twain 29). His imagining of dying after being blamed reflects immaturethinking. The broken sugar bowl incident is actually based on Twain’s real lifeexperience. Twain describes in his autobiography: “One day when [my mom] was notpresent Henry took sugar from her…sugar bowl…and he managed to break thebowl…she didn’t ask anything about it –she merely gave a crack on the skull with her thimble that I felt all the way down to my heels” (Twain 34). Just like Tom, Twain feelsremorseful after he is wrongly punished and endures injury despite his innocence.

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