What are the themes in the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?
The idea of adventure is central to this novel in a number of ways, as pointed out by bullgatortail. Adventure, in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is both a literal and a literary theme.
Tom Sawyer is a thrill seeker, driven by imagination and a highly specific sense of nobility. The fact that he experiences some very high-stakes situations is a by-product of another fact -- his quite literary imagination. The novel's title is the first indication of the referential nature of the book, as Twain implies with the title a knowledge of the adventure story as a genre and, more subtly, suggests that his book will participate in that genre in a tongue-and-cheek manner.
Repeated references to other tales of high adventure demonstrate the narrative's awareness of the adventure genre.
"Injun Joe's cup stands first in the list of the cavern's marvels; even “Aladdin's Palace” cannot rival it."
Additionally, the novel is indeed crafted with many references to the author (Twain) and to the fact of authorship in ways that create a basic sense of contingency or ironic self-awareness throughout the text. This is a story being told that knows it is a story being told. This self-reflexive style is nicely aligned with the sarcastic tone of the novel and the overt social commentary offered in the text.
Tom's adventures, given this stylistic context, become part of a commentary on adventure stories. More specifically, Tom and his story come to make a comment on the role of imagination in the very premise of adventure -- the particular sense of put-on nobility of romantic "swashbuckling" that connects Tom Sawyer to Don Quixote, another ironic hero.
As a story-teller and as a boy enraptured by tales and folklore, Tom is the inveterate self-made man, almost as much made up as he is real, very muck akin to Don Quixote of La Mancha.
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