The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Questions and Answers
by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book cover
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In "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," what techniques does Mark Twain use in chapter twelve?

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Up to chapter 12 in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," the story has taken a menacing twist.  Muff Potter has been found dead and Tom is into it up to his neck.  To break the suspense, in chapter 12, Twain switches to a new  vignette.  Twain's new topic takes us to the relationship between Tom and Becky.  Becky is ill and Tom is moping around like a sick puppy.  His aunt tries all types of things to "heal" him and eventually orders "Pain-Killers."  Tom snaps out of his depressed mood but not because of the medicine.  He simply decides he is bored with acting sad all the time.  Tom waits at the gate for Becky and when he finally sees her return to school he acts like a fool and embarrass himself yet again.

By switching to a lighter mood Twain is able to bring the reader to a less stressful place and ease some of the tension caused by the story of Muff Potter's death.  He uses the antidote of Tom and Becky to draw the reader's attention back to the lovable Tom that the reader has fallen in love with.

"The story moves through a series of chapter-length vignettes featuring Tom and his richly imaginative life."

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