There is a proverb in Arabic which, roughly translated, means "I against my brother, My brother and I against my cousin, My cousin, my brother and I against the world." This is an apposite description of the conflict in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
There is conflict between Tom and the other children—for instance when they mock him for having to whitewash Aunt Polly's fence and he ends up tricking them into doing it for him and paying for the privilege. There is also obvious conflict in his troubled relationship with Becky Thatcher.
However, there is a much larger conflict between the children and the adults of St. Petersburg. Aunt Polly, the Widow Douglas, and their ilk try to civilize the children—to make them wear uncomfortable clothes and learn their lessons. Most of the novel's conflict (and much of its comedy) stems from Tom and Huck's refusal to conform to the adult stereotype of the good boy.
However, when the community is threatened by the outsider, Injun Joe, Tom breaks his...
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