The given essay is dedicated to the novel of Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It has been published in 1876. The first quarter of the XIX century has become the preparatory era for the half-philosophical and half-journalistic literature of sometimes humorous, sometimes instructive and moralistic writings. National characteristics of Americans with their practicality, utilitarian morality and native cheerful humor that are highly different from the sarcastic and surly British humor are vividly reflected. The whole oeuvre of the author may be characterized by the Enlightment of the 18th century. Unfortunately, the novel received its recognition only after the author’s death, but though it was not as popular as the other works of Mark Twain (for instance, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), it became the classic of American literature.
Thesis: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a classic novel of American literature, because it shows artistic qualities, merits the lasting recognition, and integrates everything that is so common for readers.
This novel is rightly considered to be a landmark piece of the American literature. Twain shows the readers how people live in the province without railroads and class struggle; how children are grown up (Aunt Polly brings up Tom according to the principles of the Bible: “spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says”.); how children treat studying in schools striving to run away from it (“Tom did play hookey, and he had a very good time”); and how important it is to say the truth (the moment in the court when Tom decides to help innocent Muff Potter who was charged of murder of Dr. Robinson, “..Injun Joe jumped with the knife and”). One more interesting moment is when Tom understands to what consequences may lead his devilment (after he and his friends run away, Tom persuades others to wait and not return until everybody would consider them all dead).
Despite the fact that the novel shows how people lived in the middle of the 19th century, it is mostly concentrated on the realities that are timeless. While reading this book, adolescents may imagine themselves on the place of Tom and his friends by means of being the part of their adventures and feeling the same excitement. At the same time, adults may recall their own childhood and what they were doing and how they felt that time.
In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer we can see the whole scope of emotions that children experience; emotions that are common to people of all ages and social levels. Love of Becky and Tom with offences and forgiveness: “The fresh-crowned hero fell without firing a shot” (Twain, Mark 1; ch. 3), friendship of Tom and his friends (Huck Finn and Joe Harper), excitement that children feel in respect of the adventures (running away from home to the island “They felt like heroes in an instant. Here was a gorgeous triumph” or getting lost in the cave (“All is lost!”), searching for the treasure and helping to catch Injun Joe, etc), fear and hate (Dr. Robinson death, Injun Joe desire to revenge, etc.) and faith that everything would be all right. All these emotions are experienced by the readers in real life and help them to empathize the main characters.
This novel of Mark Twain shows a reader the world of every child full of adventures and feelings of excitement. It allows us imagining ourselves on the place of these children and think over the questions of how would we behave and what would we feel in one or another situation. The author demonstrates us the story of a boy who stands against the rules and obligations of an adult, though one may notice how Tom matures throughout the story. From a careless boy he turns into a person who is ready to take responsibility and help others. Twain also shows the society’s hypocrisy and that society may make the same mistakes as individuals.
All the hankey-pankey of Tom Sawyer is made owing to the thirst of adventures. It is clear that in his soul Tom is a capable and kind boy who can make friends and love. His outstanding cunning, wit and tremendous luck make him an ideal hero of the book for children of many generations.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a very funny, but at the same time quite serious book. On the one hand, Twain gorgeously describes the boyish pranks. In the preface, the author describes many situations occurred with Tom Sawyer, and it is interesting that he took them from his own childhood that happened to himself and his friends. On the other hand, the author criticizes slavery, the system of education, and values of the American society that were in the inception phase. In general, despite the obviously adventurous character of the novel, it contains a lot of serious thoughts. The author manages to mention the theme of love and friendship, relationship of the adult world and world of children, ethics and morality, as well as the problems of maturity. Thus, the novel is considered to be the classic of American literature.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. New York: Bantam Classic, 1981. Print.