Tom Sawyer Characterization

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Character Development in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom is introduced as a rebellious and self-centered boy who uses his intelligence to manipulate people for his own gain. Throughout the course of the story Tom learns important lessons that lead him to appreciate, respect, and look out for others. When Tom is first introduced he is described as a free-willed and careless boy who constantly disobeys his aunt to get attention. He usually skips school and goes and does whatever pleases him, although he does go to church because he has strong religious and superstitious beliefs. One day Tom’s aunt makes him whitewash a fence but instead Tom tricks the local boys into thinking that it’s a very special and hard task. Tom ends up spending the whole day relaxing while other boys whitewash the fence. This demonstrates Tom’s craftiness and ability to manipulate other people. Tom shows his honesty and strong morals when he admits that he witnessed Injun Joe commit the murder, proving Muff Potter’s innocence, even though Injun Joe might come after him. When Becky Thatcher rips the teacher’s book Tom takes the punishment and shows that he is starting to care and look out for other people. Tom manipulates Huck into going back to widow Douglass’s house because it’s better for him; although Tom manipulates Huck he does it for him which shows Tom maturing. At the end of the story Tom does not try to disobey or even disrespect any of his aunt’s rules; this is because Tom’s need for attention is already filled by his fame but at the same time Tom respects her and others.
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