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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by Mark Twain

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Compare and contrast Tom and Sidney in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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Tom Sawyer is a bit of a scamp, a young boy who's always getting into some kind of trouble or other. Whether it's playing hooky to go swimming or raiding the pantry, Tom's usually up to no good, leading his Aunt Polly an absolute dog's life as she tries valiantly to keep her errant nephew under control.

Tom's half-brother Sid really couldn't be more different. Something of a goodie-two-shoes, there's no way in a million years he'd ever dream of getting up to mischief. Not only does he lack Tom's imagination, he's also scared stiff of getting into trouble with the fearsome Aunt Polly.

If that were all there was to say about young Sidney, then maybe we'd find him a more sympathetic character. A little dull, perhaps, but still sympathetic all the same. What makes Sid such an unlovable child is the fact that he's a total sneak. It's not enough for him to be well-behaved; he has to go out of this way to snitch on Tom for every little transgression of Aunt Polly's house-rules. It's Sid who draws Aunt Polly's attention to the different-colored thread holding Tom's collar together, indicating that he skipped school and went for a nice swim instead. Thanks to Sid's snitching, Tom gets into serious trouble.

Truth be told, Sid's a bit of a sadist; he actually enjoys getting Tom into hot water. As for Tom, he may be a bit of a young rascal, but his heart's usually in the right place, which is more than can be said for his buttoned-up half-brother.

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