The main idea behind this story is just an average little schoolboy getting into loads of trouble all the time and learning things through experience. He's not the role model little boy at all, but he's certainly not the one everyone would pick on and such. Tom Sawyer goes out on all sorts of adventurous adventures, some thought up through imagination and others as serious as a heart attack. Throughout this book you will notice how Tom Sawyer grow up into a more responsible person as it gets further into to the book and nearing the end. He doesn't do the childish things he would've earlier and he does things for other people instead of just for himself. The setting of the story takes place in the city of St. Petersburg, Missouri, and I'm guessing the time of the story is back in the late 1800's.
At the very beginning of the book, Aunt Polly (Tom Sawyer's aunt), is searching for him high and low. I think this is a great way to start off the book because it already shows Tom's "criminal" personality and you can already get the feel of how Tom is. Polly ends up finding Tom eating jam out of the closet which he wasn't supposed to be eating. Before Aunt Polly could mutilate Tom, he was able to divert her attention away from him for just a second, and that was all he needed to escape over the fence. Tom plays hooky from school and his Aunt has a hunch that he did, so she tries to catch him. Aunt Polly "knows" that Tom played hooky and wanted him to admit it somehow. Aunt Polly thinks she has him for sure when she goes to check if his collar is sewed up, so she has Tom show her the collar. Low and behold, Tom's collar is still sewed up and he slips away. Well, he would've slipped away if Sid hadn't told Aunt Polly the flaw in Tom's sewed collar. Earlier that day Aunt Polly had sewn the collar with white thread, and now it's in black thread. That Tom although tricky, just isn't tricky enough to fool everyone.