The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book cover
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer eNotes Reading Response Prompts

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Excerpt From This Document

  • Tom Sawyer was published in 1876, but it is set in the 1840s in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. Which details from the beginning of the novel help to establish this time period and setting?
  • Explain Tom’s role in the “battle” that takes place between the boys in the public square. Do you get the sense that Tom is a leader or a follower among the boys in his town? Explain your answer.
  • Why doesn’t Aunt Polly apologize after she punishes Tom by accident? How does Tom react?
  • Many modern Americans feel offended by the racial language Mark Twain uses to discuss Injun Joe, the villain in the story. But the name “Injun Joe” and phrases like “murderin’ half-breed” reflect real ways people spoke and thought in the 1800s. In your opinion, should this kind of language be removed from modern editions of Tom Sawyer? Why or why not?
  • Tom likes to pretend to be a pirate, a robber, and an outlaw. When he witnesses a real crime, it troubles his conscience. How are his imaginary crimes different from the real murder?
  • Describe the internal conflict Tom and Joe feel when they realize their families think they are dead. Why do they want to stay on the island, and why do they want to go home?
  • Why is Tom more concerned about Becky getting punished than he is about getting punished himself? Do you think he would feel this way about any girl in Becky’s situation, or is Becky special?

About this Document

These eNotes Reading Response Prompts are designed to encourage your students to read more effectively and with more pleasure by giving them interesting subjects to write about after they have read. Many of the prompts will take them directly into the text, while others will give them an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings and to reflect on their own experiences.

A second purpose of the eNotes Reading Response Prompts is to facilitate instruction in ways that work for you in the classroom. The organization of the prompts makes them easy to use, and the content and construction of the prompts are designed to develop students’ knowledge and academic skills.