The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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.

Tom lay thinking. Presently it occurred to him that he wished he was sick; then he could possibly stay home from school. Here was a vague possibility. He canvassed his system. No ailment was found, and he investigated again. This time he thought he could detect colicky symptoms, and he began to encourage them with considerable hope.

I love this book. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is a book about a boy who IS a boy. It is one of the funniest books that I have read in a while. It also perfectly describes every Monday of my life.

Mark Twain has little lessons to teach through the story and writes about the humorous side of what Southern village life was like back in the 1800s.  He uses the vocabulary of the time, includes the superstitions of the day, and includes common religious and schoolhouse practices.  However, the reason this is such a good book is because it describes the thoughts of a child.  All the hopes, excitement, mischievousness, and offences of childhood are traversed.

Tom is an orphan who lives with his Aunt Polly, cousin Mary, and brother Sid. He is always getting into trouble. His imagination knows no bounds, and he is happy being Robin Hood, an army captain, or running away and being a pirate. He finds true love, “licks” the new boy in town, survives the measles, and gets others to do his work for him. The everyday, and not so everyday, parts of life are in this book.

Tom Sawyer, whitewashing fences, and building communities online

Photo CC – by

At one point, Tom, Huckleberry Finn, and Joe Harper realize they are misused individuals. Nobody wanted them. They would lead a life of crime. There was no choice. They decide to be pirates. The three boys row out to an island on the Mississippi where they stayed for the week, and then went home on a Sunday to attend their own funeral.

At another point in the book Tom and Huck go into the graveyard at midnight with a dead cat so they can cure their warts.

“Why, you take your cat and go and get in the grave yard ‘long about midnight when somebody that was wicked has been buried; and when it’s midnight a devil will come, or maybe two or three, but you can’t see ‘em, you can only hear something like the wind, or maybe here ‘em talk; and when they’re talking that feller away, you heave your cat after ‘em and say, ‘Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat, I’m done with ye! That’ll fetch ANY wart!”

They don’t actually get to throw the dead cat at anything, because they end up witnessing a murder, and then eventually saving the falsely accused. The only problem is that the real murder escapes.  I’m afraid you just have to read the book to find out what happens. (Side note: if I get warts from holding frogs, this may be the answer. But where does one go about finding a dead cat or a wicked person?)

You can read this book from the beginning, or pick it up and read a section of the book on its own. Any way that you decide to peruse this book, it is a good read.

Have you ever read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? What is your favorite part? Whitewashing the fence… Running off to be a pirate… Saving Becky Thatcher while escaping from the cave? Leave a comment and let me know!

Lost in the Caverns

Photo CC – by Connecticut State Library


6 thoughts on “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  1. Shelf of shame time:

    I’ve never read Tom Sawyer. I’ve read Huck Finn about a billion times, but never Tom Sawyer itself. That’s what’s cool to me about your quest to meet the classics: I have a huge shelf of shame full of ones that I’m “supposed” to have read, but have yet to. Moby Dick, Heart of Darkness, David Copperfield, the list extends. Most of my classics that have been read were introduced (see also: required) of me via classes, so you independently seeking them out gives me a new level of respect for the endeavor.


    • My shelf of shame is made of of vegetables sitting on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. It’s a little different than yours, but the same concept of I will get around to it sometime (but I don’t).
      If you do pick up Tom Sawyer, it is a great book and I like the first half better than the second. It is also different than Huck Finn. My favorite part of Huck Finn is the what I think the two importers call the “Nonesuch” and I laugh every time. Try picking up one of the books from the shelf of shame. If you don’t enjoy it you can always put it down again!


  2. I really need to read this book again. I think I read it when I was young, but I can’t remember all of it – time for a refresher! I worked on a children’s play called “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and invited an actor, portraying Mark Twain, to speak at intermission – it was a real treat to listen to him!

    You know, if we got together, I bet we could spend the whole afternoon just chatting! 🙂 Like minds…


    • What a fun play to do with kids! Read the book again, it’s an easy read and so funny. I also agree that we would have a great time chatting- I wish I lived closer to CSC! Have a great break!


  3. I remember this book fondly …. As I sit here I can see the book on my shelf. ; ) For several weeks I have been thinking about reading this book to my son. He is a junior in high school but I still read some to him or sometimes we listen to a book on tape when we are traveling to Iowa. Thank you for your post!!!!


  4. You should read it to him! We listen to books on tape in the car too. My kid’s favorite when they were little was “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!” (The book is much better than the movie too.) You guys will have so much fun reading Tom Sawyer together.


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