The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain
Novels
8:31 h
Level 6
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an 1876 novel by Mark Twain about a boy growing up along the Mississippi River. It is set in the 1840s in the town of St. Petersburg, which is based on Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived as a boy. In the novel, Tom Sawyer has several adventures, often with his friend Huckleberry Finn. Originally a commercial failure, the book ended up being the best selling of any of Twain's works during his lifetime. Tom Sawyer, an orphan, lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, sometime in the 1840s. A fun-loving boy, Tom skips school to go swimming and is made to whitewash his aunt's fence for the entirety of the next day, Saturday, as punishment. In one of the most famous scenes in American literature, Tom cleverly persuades the various neighborhood children to trade him small trinkets and treasures for the "privilege" of doing his tedious work, using reverse psychology to convince them it is an enjoyable activity.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by
Mark Twain


Preface

Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest those of boys who were schoolmates of mine. Huck Finn is drawn from life; Tom Sawyer also, but not from an individual — he is a combination of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew, and therefore belongs to the composite order of architecture.

The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West at the period of this story — that is to say, thirty or forty years ago.

Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in.

THE AUTHOR.
HARTFORD, 1876.


Chapter I

“TOM!”

No answer.

“TOM!”

No answer.

“What’s gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!”

No answer.

The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for “style,” not service — she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:

“Well, I lay if I get hold of you I’ll — ”