Book title: The Adventures of Thomas Sawyer
Author: Mark Twain
Reviewed by: Arnold Agaba
Thomas Sawyer, the protagnosit of this American novel, is an orphan and lives with his Aunt, Polly and half-brother Sid. Tom dirties his clothes in a fight and is made to whitewash the fence the next day as punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work.
He then trades the treasures for Sunday School tickets which one normally receives for memorizing verses, redeeming them for a Bible, much to the surprise and bewilderment of the superintendent who thought “it was simply preposterous that this boy had warehoused two thousand sheaves of Scriptural wisdom on his premises — a dozen would strain his capacity, without a doubt.”
Tom falls in love with Becky Thatcher, a new girl in town, and persuades her to get “engaged” by kissing him. But their romance collapses when she learns Tom has been “engaged” previously to Amy Lawrence. Shortly after Becky shuns him, he accompanies Huckleberry Finn to the graveyard at night, where they witness the murder of Dr. Robinson.
Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper run away to an island. While enjoying their new found freedom, the boys become aware that the community is sounding the river for their bodies. Tom sneaks back home one night to observe the commotion. After a brief moment of remorse at his loved ones’ suffering, Tom is struck by the idea of appearing at his own funeral.
Back in school, Tom gets himself back in Becky’s favour after he nobly accepts the blame for a book she has ripped. Soon, Muff Potter’s trial begins, in which Tom testifies against Injun Joe. Potter is acquitted, but Injun Joe flees the courtroom through a window. Tom then fears for his life as Injun Joe is at large and can easily find him.
Summer arrives, and Tom and Huck go hunting for buried treasure in a haunted house. After venturing upstairs they hear a noise below. Peering through holes in the floor, they see Injun Joe disguised as a deaf-mute Spaniard; Injun Joe and his companion plan to bury some stolen treasure of their own.
A week later, having deduced from Injun Joe’s presence at McDougal’s Cave that the villain must have hidden the stolen gold inside, Tom takes Huck to the cave and they find the box of gold, the proceeds of which are invested for them. The Widow Douglas adopts Huck, and when Huck attempts to escape civilized life, Tom tricks him into thinking that he can join Tom’s robber band if he returns to the widow. Reluctantly, Huck agrees and goes back to her.
This novel is a good read for adventurous young people because of its interesting plot and theme.