The Realistic Hero





Tom Sawyer, the main character of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, written by Mark Twain, is an

average boy who is bored with his civilized life and escapes these constraints by pulling pranks, and pulling

other mischievous things. The character of Tom, in the most part, is presented as a realistic and convincing

boy. He is kind and loving, but also cruel, stupid, and hypocritical of others at times, as well as, he shows

maturation throught the story. The story of Tom Sawyer,as well as being about a realistic character, is a

story that is intrusive to adults and children.

Tom is shown throughout the story as a typical boy of his time and place. He has a loving, happy

home, with his devoted Aunt Polly to care for him. He is mostly restricted by his home routine of prayers,

meals, chores, bedtime, and things like that, but when his routine life gets to dull, he has the nearby river

and woods, where he can go to escape. Though Tom is not " the model boy" of the village, he even hates

the "model boy."

He plays boyish pranks on Aunt Polly, Sid, his friends, and everyone in town. He steals, lies, plays hooky,

fights, and goes swimming secretly, but he is a normal boy and this is what normal boys do at his age.

Tom is a clever, imaginative boy who has a good knowledge about human nature and knows how

to use it. He continually outwits his Aunt Polly, and also persuades other boys to do his work for him

without them even knowing of his trickery. One example of this is in the whitewashing scene, when his

Aunt Polly makes him whitewash the outside fence before he is allowed to play. He slyly conviences the

first boy by saying "...I don't see why oughtn't like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence

everyday?" (21) With this cunning use of words he manipulates the boy to whitewash the fence, which

leads to others also joining in to help. In the end, Tom has made a tidy profit as well as got the

whitewashing done without actually doing it.

As well as Tom being known as a strong boy, he also has fears. He is afraid, at various times in

the book, of being harmed by Injun Joe, starving to death with Becky in the cave, of witchcraft, and of

death during the thunderstorm when he is ill with the measles. Some of his fears are based on real dangers,

such as with Injun Joe. Others are just simply fears in his mind. Partly by luck and partly by using his

mind and courage, Tom is able to eventually triumph over his fears.

Tom , who is usually a spirited guy, sometimes goes off by himself to be alone and think about his

death. Ususally these dark moods only last a very short time, then he is back to his rowdy self. For

example, after being rejected by Becky, he goes off into his comforting woods and thinks about ways to get

back at her, and even thinks about running away. Though he gets into these moods occasionally, a quick

visit from his friends he totally forgets his depressed mood, and resorts back to his spirited self.

Although Tom likes to rebel against society and its restrictions, he is basically respectable. He is

the nephew of a woman who is the soul of suitability and who is instilled him with these values. When

Tom calculates his pranks and adventures in term's of society's reactions. At the end of the story, he even

persuades his best friend Huck, who is an outcast in the town, to become "respectable" by telling him

"Well, everybody does that way, Huck." (243) Tom also conviences Huck to "be respectable" by telling

him he won't let him join his robber gang " if you ain't respectable."

Also another aspect of Tom that is realistic is how he grows throught the story. Tom starts out

acting childish and irresponsible and ends up acting more mature and responsible. The story of Muff Potter

begins with Tom and Huck going to a graveyard to try a superstitious belief. It ends with Tom defying

superstition