What is the main conflict of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Asked on by sammi0620

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slchanmo1885's profile pic

slchanmo1885 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The conflict in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is the Tom and Huck's struggle with Injun Joe over the treasure. The climax, which can be considered the most interesting or most exciting part of the story, is when Tom has a close encounter with Injun Joe when he is lost in the cave with Becky. During this part of the story, Tom and Becky are lost in the cave, their supplies have run out, and it seems as though they might die there, with no way out, no light, and no food. Then, to even further the excitement, they hear Injun Joe, who wants to kill them, in the caves and they are almost caught. There seems to be no way to resolve the problem, when luckily, Tom discovers a way out.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

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This question has been asked and answered a few times, check out the link below.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The main conflict is the clash between Tom's imaginative vision of the world and the adult world as it really is.

Tom's elaborate, creative adventures (pirates, treasure hunters, robbers) and pranks (tricking the boys into paying him to paint the fence, bartering for proof of memorized Bible verses) place him at constant odds with the adult world, and he is not above lying audaciously to get out of trouble either.  The fact that Tom does have a conscience and a good heart only adds to the conflict he experiences.  On the one hand, Tom wishes he could be like Huck, who lives without rules because he is on his own, yet at the same time Tom realizes that it is a sad thing that Huck has no one to love him.  Although Tom's exploits get him into a lot of trouble, when it really counts (worrying Aunt Polly by disappearing on his pirate adventure, letting the wrong man take the blame for Dr. Robinson's murder), Tom chooses to do what he knows is right. 


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