In the early chapters of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain employs sarcasm to critique the traditions of small town life, Sarcasm consists of remarks that are intended to ridicule.
--In Chapter 1, when Tom encounters a new boy, who appears to be wealthy by his attire, he is astounded. The boy wears a hat, shoes, even a necktie--"and it was only Friday," Twain adds sarcastically (as though wearing them on Sunday would make the boy's outfit more acceptable to Tom). As Tom stares at the other boy, he has a sense of the shabbiness of his own clothes, so Tom finds a way of asserting himself:
"I can lick you!"
"I'd like to see you try it."
"Well, I can do it."
"No, you can't either."
The two continue in this manner, challenging each other until they finally fight. Tom wins, but when his back is turned, the new boy hurls a stone at him, striking him in the back. So, Tom chases the boy home and stands outside the gate, daring "the enemy" to come outside, but the "enemy" only makes faces at him while his mother calls Tom a "vicious, vulgar child."
--In Chapter 2 when Tom is assigned to whitewash a fence, he is rather discontented by this assignment; so, he tries to devise ways of getting out of the job. When Jim comes by with a bucket of water, Tom offers to let Jim whitewash part of the fence while he fetches the water. But, Jim has been forewarned by Tom's aunt that Tom will ask Jim to help him. So, when Tom offers him some of his possessions, Jim will not be swayed until Tom suggests that Jim see his sore toe. "Jim was only human--this attraction was too much for him," Twain adds. Then, Aunt Polly comes along with "triumph in her eye," so Jim runs off.
Tom's vigor in whitewashing after he sees his aunt diminishes, and he ponders alternative methods of enticement as other boys approach. He looks at the meager contents of his pockets, and he relinquishes the idea of trying to buy the others. However, Twain writes, "At this dark and hopeless moment an inspiration burst upon him! Nothing less than a great, magnificent inspiration."
When another boy comes by, Tom pretends that he is intent upon his painting and he enjoys it so much that he does not wish to go swimming with Ben when the boy suggests they go. This statement makes Ben see the act of painting "in a new light." Now, he wants to paint, too. But, Tom refuses to let him until Ben pleads and gives Tom his apple. Then, as he relaxes and eats his apple, Tom "planned the slaughter of more innocents."
--In Chapter 3
Tom is rewarded for his having worked so hard and done such a thorough job on the whitewashing of the fence. Aunt Polly gives Tom an apple while delivering her lecture on how a treat tastes even better when it came "through virtuous effort." And, while his aunt "closed with a happy Scriptural flourish, he 'hooked' a doughnut."
As Tom departs, he sees Sid, so he throws six or seven clods that "raged like a hailstorm" around his half-brother. And, Tom's "soul was at peace, now that he had settled with Sid for calling attention to his black thread and getting him into trouble."
Further in this chapter, Twain adds another sarcastic remark when Tom Sawyer passes by the house of Jeff Thatcher and spots a new girl in the garden. She is a pretty girl with yellow hair and blue eyes. When Tom sees her, "The fresh-crowned hero fell without firing a shot."