How does the plot progress in the first four chapters of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?
Mark Twain begins his marvelous novel of mid-19th century Americana, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, with a series of chapter length vignettes that introduce the imaginative and wildly mischievous title character. In the opening chapter, Tom escapes from Aunt Polly, but is later scolded for coming home late, setting up his punishment the next day. Tom will have to spend Saturday whitewashing the fence, but Tom uses his cunning skills of persuasion to convince his passing friends to paint the fence instead, procuring a valuable collection of unusual treasures as a bonus. The chapter, "The Glorious Whitewasher," is one of the most memorable scenes in all of American literature. Tom falls head over heels in love at the sight of Becky Thatcher in the third chapter, and then on Sunday he manages to meet Judge Thatcher under the most unimaginable circumstances to conclude Chapter 4.
Twain's intent in Chapters 1-4 is to introduce to the reader the Tom Sawyer character in all his troublemaking glory. Many of the main characters also make their first appearance, but the other primary figures--Huckleberry Finn and Injun Joe, for example--come thereafter. The rising action of the main plot does not begin until later.