The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Questions and Answers
by Mark Twain

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How would you describe Aunt Polly’s attitude towards Tom? Where can you find evidence of this?

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Aunt Polly finds Tom very difficult to deal with and frequently complains about the trouble he puts her through, but she clearly loves him and worries about his wellbeing. Because she loves him so much, she is often easily manipulated by him, even though she shouldn't be surprised by his antics.

When she thinks he is dying in chapter 6, she rushes to his bedside with "her face...white...and her lip trembl[ing]"; when she finds out he's faking, she laughs and cries with relief and says, "Tom, what a turn you did give me. Now you shut up that nonsense...." She says, "Tom, Tom, I love you so, and you seem to try every way you can to break my old heart with your outrageousness." It's clear that she finds his antics troubling and heartbreaking, but she loves him too much not to laugh at his outrageousness.

In chapter 18, after Tom has returned from the island, he tells Aunt Polly all the details of the moment he eavesdropped on when he snuck home, and she believes immediately in her relief that he is okay that he had a prophetic dream, saying things like, "Mercy on us!" and "Don't tell me there ain't nothing in dreams anymore!" She concludes that "the Spirit was upon you!" Inevitably, she finds out he was lying, and in the next chapter, she tells him, "Tom, I've a notion to skin you alive," but when she finds out he kissed her before he left, she is so overcome with love for him that she asks for another kiss and cries with joy. He has embarrassed her, and she is upset, but she can't help but be moved by his declaration of love for her in return.

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