What is an example of a lie Tom Sawyer told in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of a lie Tom Sawyer told is when he told his aunt that he did not play hooky and go swimming.

At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to the playfully devious Tom with a classic lie.  His aunt wants him to admit that he skipped school to swim, and he tries to evade her.

While Tom was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep—for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. (ch 1)

Tom assumes he is in the clear, because he sewed his collar back on.  He tells her that he put his head under water at school, and that’s why his hair is damp.  At first, Aunt Polly believes him—until Sid points out an inconsistency in his story.  Tom sewed the collar with black thread, when Aunt Polly had sewed it with white.

Tom is flustered.  How is he supposed to keep his story straight if she changes the color thread she uses!

“She'd never noticed if it hadn't been for Sid. Confound it! sometimes she sews it with white, and sometimes she sews it with black. I wish to geeminy she'd stick to one or t'other—I can't keep the run of 'em….” (ch 1)

Tom’s punishment is to not play on Saturday and whitewash the fence, which leads to another lie.  He tells her he whitewashed it, when in reality he tricked several other buys into whitewashing it for him.  In Tom’s mind, he did nothing wrong.  It was whitewashed, after all.

Tom is not a bad kid, but he has a vivid imagination and gets bored easily.  He is the typical all-American boy. He does what he wants and hopes he does not get caught, and lies about it if he does.

Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question