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Tom Sawyer as Everyboy, Not Everyman

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  1. Introduction
  2. Different views of Twain's goals for his book
  3. William Spengemann's book Mark Twain and the Backwoods Angel
  4. A chance for Twain to reminisce
  5. Tom Sawyer and a fork in life's road
  6. The sexual awakening
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, his seminal 1876 novel, has been both lauded and decried by multitudes of readers who almost universally regard Twain in a favorable light. Negative reviews of this work are found most easily among admitted Twain fans?something that seems to stem from the inevitable comparisons to Twain's other works, most notably The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Despite mixed reviews, Tom Sawyer is an important work, particularly for understanding Twain's motivations his own life.

[...] That the Twain's image would be first established during an attempt to get something through coercion (through the government) rather than following Huck Finn's inclination to not ?give a dern for a thing ?thout it's tollable hard to (Twain 139) shows how far from his supposed ideal Twain traveled. Works Cited Cox, James M. Critical Essays on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Ed. Gary Scharnhorst. New York: GK Hall & Co 88-102. Fetterly, Judith. Sanctioned Rebel.? Ibid. 119-129 Norton, Charles A. [...]

[...] Judith Fetterly would likely dispute the whole basis for this question, since she sees Tom Sawyer as receiving ?recognition? through his whippings, rather than punishment (Fetterly 120). Whatever the case, Tom Sawyer represents a fork in life's road?a choice between good and evil, between aggression and non-aggression. Henry Nash Smith, in his ?Discovery of River and describes Tom Sawyer as an ?embryonic everyman? who must face hostile, unnatural society (Smith 85). The choices that confront Tom, though, include not only the choice between Injun Joe's way and some road of non-aggression. [...]

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