Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its Interpretation as a Children’s Book or Adult Novel

Category: Justice, War on Drugs
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Whether or not many have read the book, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” has been referenced numerous times in social media. It has been used in media in such formats as movies and cartoons. Because of this, many believe Tom Sawyer to be a children’s book, while others believe it to be a more literal adult influenced novel. With the many outside influences such as religion, writing styles, and the author’s opinions it can be argued that Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” can be seen as either a children’s book or an adult’s novel.

Many believe it is more suited as an adult book. The Influence of religion in any storyline can affect the plot greatly. “If we maintain the implicit conjunction between the Bible and Tom’s books, this can be read as a very serious critique of the abuses of religion” (McIntosh-Byrd 15). In his critique, Byrd states how religion is often seen as the only way to go. Many don’t know any different and therefore Byrd believes the book to be more centered on religion and its constant critique. “The fact that both of these scenes take place within the church in indicative of an implicit critique of the role of religion in St.

Petersburg” (McIntosh-Byrd 15). Again here Byrd says that religion has changed the storyline somewhat. Because of these reasons it can be argued that Tom Sawyer is more suited for adults because adults can understand what Twain was trying to say more and he knew this by the way he wrote. The different writing styles in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer change the audiences that the story appeals to. “These defects of structure would probably not appreciate the flexibility of the narrative, it’s easy, casual gait. ” (Doren 431).

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From this view, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” can be seen as more of a children’s book because of its easy going nature. The lack of responsibility in this book translates well to children. “But Tom’s energy did not last. He began to think of the fun he had planned for this day, and his sorrows multiplied. ” (Twain 12) Many are without responsibilities and hope to never gain any. “Mark Twain drives with careless, sagging reins, but he holds the general direction. ” (Doren 431) Twain keeps a general hold on the story but he allows the characters to roam bout freely, which makes it more kid friendly, in the sense that the kids want to feel like they are truly in charge. “And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor, poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. ” (Twain 15) The different writing styles affected the story in one way but at the same time it can affect it in the other opposite direction. On the other side of the spectrum, this book can be seen as an adult’s novel based on the writing styles evident in the text. Twain borrowed its structure from several literary genres popular in the United States during the late nineteenth century: Local color-fiction, Juvenile fiction, sentimental romance, and the dime thriller” (De Santis). Adults can handle a lot more styles in books such as these. “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer…Represented an attempt to cultivate the gentled, eastern-seaboard audience currently enthralled by local-color fiction. ” (Baetzhold) Again here critic has noticed the same trend. Local-color or regional literature is fiction and poetry that focuses on the characters of a story.

This is evident in De Santis’ critique of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Noticing the author’s opinions the reader can tell whether they meant for their book to be a children’s book or an adult’s piece of literature. “It had no history, and no future, existing in the framed bookends of the author’s comments at the beginning and end of the tale. ” (McIntosh-Byrd 15) Twain’s opinions about the way things should be in society affects the story. Say another writer had written about the exact same topic it would be completely different. Twain put a lot of his own thoughts and beliefs into his story. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an extremely difficult work to approach analytically because it is so embedded in the author’s own childhood. ” (McIntosh-Byrd 13) It has been argued that the town of St. Petersburg in the story was Twain’s interpretation of his childhood hometown. “Uncertain whether it should be aimed at a youthful or an adult audience, Mark Twain once more submerged in the shadow the realistic aspects of puberty, removing portions of the book which might offend younger readers. ” (Baetzhold) if Twain didn’t remove these portions f the story it would have definitely been focused towards a more mature audience. Since he did it is more appropriate that “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” be focused more on the youthful audience. With the many outside influences such as religion, writing styles, and the author’s opinions it can be argued that Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” can be seen as either a children’s book or an adult’s novel. The book was originally written as an adult’s novel, but over the years since it has been written it has slowly been more closely analyzed as a children’s book.

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Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its Interpretation as a Children’s Book or Adult Novel. (2016, Dec 28). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/tom-sawyer/

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