Character Sketch Of Tom Sawyer

What is a character sketch of Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer is a lovable rogue. Although he's forever getting into trouble, he's basically a good boy with an understanding of right and wrong. Tom's also a very imaginative young man, who comes up with all kinds of fun new games for himself and Huck to play.

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Tom is a well-rounded character, a mix of strengths and flaws, based on trickster and hero archetypes that were adapted in American literature to a create a particular type of American male hero. In the tradition of American trickster heroes, Tom survives by his wits, his practicality, and his cheerful, robust ability to dominate others. Like the typical American hero, he is white and "all boy:" he loves to be active, rejects book learning, and has a strong spirit of adventure and daring. During the course of the book, he journeys to maturity, gaining wisdom as he faces and overcomes obstacles on his path, including his own mortality.

In the famous early chapter when Tom is punished by Aunt Polly by having to whitewash a fence, we see many of these character traits come into play. He hates the lack of freedom that fence painting causes him on a beautiful Saturday, and he hates the idea that he is vulnerable to being mocked by Ben Rogers, whom he sees coming down the street. Ben is an active, high spirited boy, too, a rival that Tom is determined to dominate. He does so by using his wits to trick Ben into helping him paint the fence—and even into paying him, Tom, for the favor. This ploy comically spreads until Tom is enjoying his day, gathering tribute, while others do his drudge work.

Tom has a keen sense of social class. His rebellious, adventure loving self loves to hang out with Huck Finn. He admires Huck, the son of a socially outcast alcoholic father, for all the freedom he has, such as not having to attend school, but is always careful to meet up with this friend at night or in settings away from more respectable boys—which leads to witnessing a murder.

Tom shows his courage and integrity when he testifies against and later helps to trap the fearful murderer Injun Joe. He also faces his mortality, albeit comically, when he, Huck, and Joe Harper are taken for dead, and he overhears his own funeral.

His half brother Sid, studious and obedient, is Tom's foil. Unlike Sid, wherever Tom goes, adventure always follow.

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It's fair to say that Tom Sawyer's a bit of a scamp. It seems that he's always getting into trouble of one kind or another. Observe how he plays hooky from school one day to go for a nice swim. As is often the case, Aunt Polly catches him in a lie, thanks in no small part to Sid Sawyer, and Tom ends up being punished.

His punishment involves being made to whitewash the fence. But instead of doing it himself, Tom cunningly manages to get other children to do it for him by convincing them that's it a fun thing to do. Here we see another side of Tom's character: as well as being a scamp, he's actually quite smart. It's just a pity that he doesn't put his obvious intelligence to better use.

At heart, though, Tom's basically a good kid. He's also a very imaginative young man, forever coming up with fun games and daring plans. These two qualities come together in the daring plan that Tom comes up with to help free Jim the slave from captivity. Although the plan is very dangerous—and indeed, Tom ends up being shot during the escape attempt—Tom decides to go through with the plan out of a romantic sense of what's right and wrong.

Tom can also be described as incredibly brave. As well as his helping to free Jim, we have the example of his saving Muff Potter from execution by joining Huck Finn in putting the finger on Injun Joe for the murder of Dr. Robinson. This takes a lot of courage, as Tom and Huck are terrified that Injun Joe will kill them out of revenge.

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Tom is lovable and infuriating a t the same time. He is a typical little boy who loves adventure, but hates church, school, and chores.

His imagination often gets him into trouble because he follows his impulses. He created a huge debacle in church when the pinch-bug he was playing with wreaked havoc on the sermon. Some of his adventures being the time he ran away to play pirates on the sandbar of the Mississippi River and hanging out in the cemetery with Huck at midnight.

Tom has a huge crush on Becky and will get into trouble just so he can sit by her.Tom is not adept at formal education, yet he is by no means stupid. He bends rules but understands the difference between right and wrong when it counts. This is evident in how he helps Becky when she is in trouble with the schoolmaster.

Tom is a memorable character whose mischievous tendencies do not detract from his likability.

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Tom is a character of unflagging energy and a real zeal for trickery. He can con and schmoze his way out of any situation. When the novel begins, Tom is a mischievous child who envies Huck Finn’s lazy lifestyle and freedom. As Tom’s adventures proceed, however, critical moments show Tom moving away from his childhood concerns and making mature, responsible decisions. These moments include Tom’s testimony at Muff Potter’s trial, his saving of Becky from punishment, and his heroic navigation out of the cave. By the end of the novel, Tom is coaxing Huck into staying at the Widow Douglas’s, urging his friend to accept tight collars, Sunday school, and good table manners. He is no longer a disobedient character undermining the adult order, but a defender of respectability and responsibility. In the end, growing up for Tom means embracing social custom and sacrificing the freedoms of childhood.
Yet Tom’s development isn’t totally coherent. The novel jumps back and forth among several narrative strands: Tom’s general misbehavior, which climaxes in the Jackson’s Island adventure; his courtship of Becky, which culminates in his acceptance of blame for the book that she rips; and his struggle with Injun Joe, which ends with Tom and Huck’s discovery of the treasure. Because of the picaresque, or episodic, nature of the plot, Tom’s character can seem inconsistent, as it varies depending upon his situation. Tom is a paradoxical figure in some respects—for example, he has no determinate age. Sometimes Tom shows the naïveté of a smaller child, with his interest in make-believe and superstitions. On the other hand, Tom’s romantic interest in Becky and his fascination with Huck’s smoking and drinking seem more the concerns of an adolescent.

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