Mark Twain’s novel. “the Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Published in 1876. The story centers on St. Petersburg, a fictional town inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, in the 1840s, where Twain lived as a boy.
Although published in 1876, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is set before the Civil War, sometime in the 1840s. Although Twain certainly does not consider the period innocent, he portrays this simple time in childhood with an idyllic lifestyle. Tom Sawyer lives in a rural community with easy access to forests, water, and caves – the perfect material for an adventure. No factories, railroads, or mail-order-catalogs hold to the serene pleasures of the St. Petersburg community, a place where an old door is charming enough to win the heart of the prettiest girl in school. The country setting also provides an ideal location for Twain to criticize the ignorance and hypocrisy of small-town America.
Tom has many adventures in the novel, often with his friend Haq. One such adventure, the whitewashing of Tom’s fence, has been adapted into paintings and referenced in other pieces of popular culture. Social criticism of Twain has satirized his novel, a form of writing that uses humor to criticize something. At various points, Twain works as a comic combination to create hyperbole, apartment, irony, and humor. The result of these comic episodes is often a subtle critique of respected social institutions, including the church community, schools, restraint committees, and courts. Young students often struggle to take on this comic. Providing them with a background on the characteristics of satire can help them identify this device more easily in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Start to Read: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer