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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an excellent example of Mark Twain's literary skill.
One of the most interesting aspects of Mark Twain’s writing style is how reproduces the speech of various characters. His mastery of dialect is unsurpassed in American literature. Just listen to his characters talk—they reveal so much of themselves simply by how they say things.
In chapter one, Aunt Polly is threatening to take a switch to Tom. After he tricks her and gets away, she laughs to herself and says, "Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time?” Her words reveal an ability to criticize herself, which tells us that she is a thoughtful person, exasperated by Tom but not hateful to him. It also tells us something about Tom himself early in the story, he’s a mischievous child, harmless but irrepressible.
Twain is also famous for his ability to produce amusing and insightful aphorisms. In chapter 2, after Tom gets other kids to whitewash the fence for him, Twain sums up, saying that Tom “now comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” In this way, Twain uses his characters to convey his various thoughts on life.
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