The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Author: Mark Twain, a 19th-century American writer, humorist, and publisher.
The protagonist of this delightful and insightful adventure is the orphan Tom, a mischievous but intelligent boy living with his mother’s sister Aunt Polly, younger half-brother Sidney, and cousin Mary in St. Petersburg village by the Mississippi. Sid and Mary are obedient and compliant in contrast to Tom. Aunt Polly wishes to punish Tom but her heart is not in it. While Mary is kind and helpful towards Tom, Sid tattles getting Tom into trouble with their aunt.
Suspecting Tom plays hooky from school going swimming, Aunt Polly checks his shirt, finding it dry. Tom’s shirt collar is securely sewn, but Sid points out that white thread was used originally, but is now black. Tom carries white and black threads on needles in the lapels of his jackets.
Tom returns late with clothes soiled by fighting. Aunt sentences him to whitewash the fence on Saturday. Tom has an inspiration to pretend to enjoy the chore as something rare and exclusive. Soon the boys line up, trading treasures like apple cores and dead rats for the privilege of whitewashing, while Tom relaxes.
In Sunday school, Tom collects colored tickets awarded for Scripture reciting by exchanging treasures. Newly arrived Judge Thatcher visits with his daughter whom Tom admires. To impress her, Tom submits his traded tickets and gets the Bible prize; but when Judge asks the name of the first two disciples, he answers David and Goliath.
On his way to school, Tom meets Huckleberry Finn, the motherless son of the village drunkard, and gets late. Noticing an empty seat beside the Judge’s daughter, he courts punishment of sitting with girls. He learns she is Becky and writes ‘I love you’. At break, they become ‘engaged’ with a kiss, but Tom inadvertently divulges being engaged to Amy earlier.
Tom and Huck go to the graveyard at midnight as planned to try a cure for warts with Huck’s dead cat. They hear voices Huck identifies as Muff Potter’s, Injun Joe’s, and Doctor Robinson’s. Hiding, the boys watch them dig the corpse out of a fresh grave demanding more money from the Doctor. Potter and Doctor fight, Doctor knocking Potter out cold. Injun stabs Doctor with Potter’s knife placing it in Potter’s hand.
When Potter comes to, Injun says Potter killed Doctor while fighting. Tom and Huck take a solemn vow to keep mum, writing it with their blood. Potter is arrested when his bloody knife is found. They hear Injun lying under oath at the inquest believing the half-Indian has sold his soul to the devil, and smuggle titbits to Potter in custody.
Becky returns to school after an absence due to illness but ignores Tom. Heartbroken, along with bosom-buddy Joe Harper and Huck, Tom becomes a pirate on uninhabited Jackson’s Island downriver. They steal a raft and provisions but resolve never to steal again. Hearing cannons being shot in the water to raise drowned bodies, they deduce they are presumed dead.
Homesick, Tom swims back that night hiding under the bed hearing his family and Joe’s mother reminiscing and weeping for them. Tom hears funerals would be preached on Sunday, kisses his sleeping aunt and returns. In the church service on Sunday, only their sweet and generous natures are extolled. The three dead boys march in stupefying the congregation, after hearing their own funeral sermon hidden in the gallery.
Tom flirts with Amy, and Becky with Alfred, to make each other jealous. Realizing and resenting, Alfred furtively pours ink on Tom’s spelling book, which Becky observes. Tom catches Becky sneaking a look at Dobbins’ mysterious anatomy book containing figures of naked humans, which tears when hastily replaced. Tom is punished for Alfred’s action, but when Becky’s punishment is imminent, Tom confessing gets flayed, earning Becky’s adulation.
Dobbins’ tyranny increases as vacation approaches. With the help of the sign-painter’s boy with whose family Dobbins boards, the boys plan retribution. On the last day, as Dobbins draws on the blackboard, a cat with its mouth tied is suspended over his head. Its claws clutch Dobbins’ toupee exposing a bald head gilded by the sign-painter’s boy.
Tom spends a dull vacation in bed for weeks with measles. Becky is also away. Doctor’s murder trial starts, and Potter’s gratefulness for smuggled favors rankles in Tom’s conscience, driving Tom to stand in court giving testimony, Injun escaping through the window.
Tom and Huck go treasure hunting in a haunted house, hiding upstairs hearing footsteps. It is Injun Joe, disguised as a deaf and mute Spaniard, with a companion. Digging to bury his loot, Injun finds a box of gold coins. The staircase collapses when Injun tries to come up. The boys return keeping watch on a tavern which they think is the ‘number 2’ Injun said he will hide the treasure in.
Becky returns and as promised, her mother arranges a picnic. Chaperoned by young adults, they go to McDougal’s cave, a vast labyrinth. Meanwhile, Huck follows Injun up Cardiff Hill hearing him plotting revenge on Widow Douglas living alone. Huck runs to tell the Welshman nearby, whose sons scare the ruffians away.
In church, the next morning Aunt Polly and Mrs. Thatcher discover Tom and Becky did not stay over with friends. Huck falls ill with exertion and Widow Douglas cares for him as all physicians have joined the futile search. They return three days later, Tom embellishing his tale of exploring the cave using his kite line, finding a small hole in the rock above the Mississippi, from where he called to a passing boat.
Two weeks later Tom hears the caves were sealed and reveals seeing Injun there. They find him dead. Tom takes Huck to the caves upon recovery, showing him the cross which tallies with Injun’s cryptic description of the hiding place. While returning with the treasure, they are invited in by the Welshman and Huck’s bravery is praised to the large gathering. Widow Douglas announces she will sponsor Huck’s education and business. Tom proclaims Huck is already rich, narrating their adventures.

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