What does "versmilitude" mean and how does it apply to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Verisimilitude refers to the attempt to make something fictional look as if it were real, or non fictional. In the case of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain attempts at creating a scenario and environment complete with characters and situations that add to the verisimilitude of his works.

Examples of versimilitude in the works of Twain include the use of colloqualisms, the creative license in the use of poor grammar and the literal transcription of words the way they sound are elements that give weight to the versimilitude of the story. Also, the free use of slang and other words that to the modern reader may seem politically incorrect are basically windows into the past which Twain has quite brilliantly kept open for us to look into life the way it was, and to make believe that Tom Sawyer's adventures may have happened in real life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial