Friday, February 12, 2010

Book 20: Why I Love Tom Sawyer.

I said in yesterday's post that I absolutely adore the character of Tom Sawyer and I wish I could someday have a boy just like him. I told Matt this and he looked at me like I was crazy. I mean, Tom is known for crazy antics, running away, and mischievous schemes, but I love him anyway. Although, I am sure that if I do get blessed to have a boy like him, I may regret this post in the future.

One of the main reasons I love him is that he knows everything about everything. And he usually gets the boys that surround him to go along with what he wants. Take for example the point in time where Tom, Joe, and Huck run away to the island. Here is a snippet of Tom's influence on the others,

"Joe was for being a hermit, and living on crusts in a remote cave, and dying, sometime, of cold and want and grief, but after listening to Tom, he conceded that there were some conspicuous advantages to a life of crime, and so he consented to be a pirate," (94).

Once the boys are on the island, hidden away from the town, Huck asks,

"'What does Pirates have to do?'
Tom said:
'Oh, they have just a bully time-take ships and burn them, and get money and bury it in awful places in their island where there's ghosts and things to watch it, and kill everybody in the ships-make 'em walk a plank.'
'And they carry the women to the island,' said Joe; 'they don't kill the women.'
'No,' assented Tom, 'they don't kill the women-they're too noble. And the women's always beautiful, too,'" (99).

Even though the reader can be 100% positive that Tom has never encountered a pirate, he can pretend and play that he does to get the others to go along with his schemes.

Another great example of Tom's vast knowledge of everything comes in near the end of the novel. Here, Tom is explaining to Huck how gangs work. Again, you can be sure that Tom is really going all out to get Huck to understand how a ransom works and what it is:

"Money. You make them raise all they can, off'n their friends; and after you've kept them a year, if it ain't raised then you kill them. That's the general way. Only you don't kill the women. You shut up the women, but you don't kill them. They're always beautiful and rich, and awfully scared. You take their watches and things, but you always take your hat off and talk polite. They ain't nobody as polite as robbers-you'll see that in any book. Well, the women get to loving you, and after they've been in the cave a week or two weeks they stop crying and after that you couldn't get them to leave. If you drove them out they'd turn right around and come back. It's so in all the books," (214).

See? You just have to love Tom for all his knowledge.

But the real reason I love him? It all comes down to one scene, and probably the most famous scene in the novel.

Of course I am talking about the scene where Tom is being punished by having to whitewash the fence. While the other boys in town get to go out and play, Tom is painting. But, he soon turns it around so he is not doing a spic of work:

"'Oh come, now, you don't mean to let on that you like it?'
The brush continued to move.
'Like it? Well, I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?'
That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth-stepped back to note the effect-added a touch here and there-criticized the effect again-Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:
'Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little,'" (23).

Of course Tom hems and haws a bit before insulting the boy by saying,

"Yes, she's [his aunt] awful particular about this fence; it's got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain't one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it's got to be done," (23).

Of course Tom caves, and soon boys from all over are clamoring to help paint the fence by trading Tom precious items in return for a stab at painting the fence. That is pure genius. I love it and I hope my future boys will have that skill. Okay, maybe that's mean, but you have to see how clever Tom is and I have all the respect in the world for cleverness.

Anyway, that's a bit about why I love Tom so much. He's such a great, well-developed character that really comes to life in the way he talks and his attitude throughout the novel. I just love him to pieces.

(Can you tell?)


  1. The whitewashing part is so funny!

    I don't know why a parent wouldn't want a clever child like Tom. Plus he's so charismatic and probably able to talk his way out of every situation, which I think could indicate success later in life :-)

  2. You are so funny.
    I take Matt's side in all of this - you might be just a little insane ;)