The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn book cover
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Walt Whitman said, "Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud." Does Tom Sawyer's character fit this? The quote suggests that anyone not in sympathy with...

Walt Whitman said, "Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud." Does Tom Sawyer's character fit this?

The quote suggests that anyone not in sympathy with humanity, not living the results of a sense of identity and connection with others, is already as good as dead. Do you see Tom Sawyer of Huckleberry Finn fitting this?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, I do not believe that Whitman's quote regarding a lack of sympathy applies to Tom Sawyer. Walt Whitman's quote, "Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud," is very compelling, and under normal circumstances, with a world view in mind, this might well be a statement with merit. However, this comment is for someone in a world much more sophisticated than that where Tom's head resides.

First of all, Tom is a kid with a vivid imagination. He is a dreamer, so he is not grounded in the world of reality, but that of his own making. eNotes.com describes Tom in the following way:

Tom’s prime purpose in [The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn] seems to be convincing Huck to live a life based on adventure books, when Huck’s true life is far more of an adventure story than those books could ever tell. Tom helps Huck free Jim near the novel’s end with his adventure-book tricks...

Tom is too young—a...

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