The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Essay Sample
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Essay Sample
The first stage of Tom Sawyer’s development and march towards manhood can be described as the time when he is fully under the influence of Huck Finn. Tom is a boy who is absolutely mischievous, meaning that he makes life extremely difficult on just about everyone in his life. This was a normal thing for a boy of his age, though. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find many boys during that time that did not make their parents extremely angry. This first stage of development is one where he is almost stuck in his own bad habits.
While most children at least make some progress towards better behavior, he has something very important holding back his development. During his first developmental stage, Tom Sawyer looks upon Huck Finn as being quite a role model. One might even say that Tom is somewhat jealous of the life that Huck is able to lead. Without any responsibilities, Huck Finn is able to go from place to place, causing as many minor crises as he can.
Tom Sawyer does not quite have it in him to do that type of thing, but throughout the story, one can see how much he wishes that he had that sort of freedom. Tom might have made his way from this stage of life to the next stage rather quickly, except that he just could not get over the absolute fun that Huck Finn appeared to have each and every day. Though it might seem like a small thing, this is a huge factor in any boy’s eyes.
Somehow, Tom Sawyer moves from that stage in his childhood to another very important part of his development towards manhood. This stage might be appropriate named “the realization”. All along, Tom knows that he probably should be doing something different. After all, he has been brought up in a usual way with fine manners and things of that nature. His life was not meant to be one that brought trouble to any towns or any people. Though he does not completely shed the role model of Huck Finn, Tom does begin to see that he might not be doing exactly what is right.
During this time of realization, Tom starts to make some very important and often times, very difficult changes in his own life. This is when the reader can pick up that Tom Sawyer has a chance to be alright. He has a chance to break free from what would have otherwise held him back. Though there is still some doubt about where the direction of his life might go, readers have some hope that he might not end up being like Huck Finn in the end. Maybe there is a period of extended manhood at the end of the tunnel for Tom Sawyer. The readers are not the only people that pick up on this, though. Everyone in Tom’s life sees it, as well.
Slowly but surely, Tom himself begins to see the error of his ways during this part of his development. This is an essential part of that developmental process. As any parent would mention, it is very easy to see that changes need to be made from the outside. In order for something to really happen, changes must be made by the child in question. We see some glimpse of the new Tom Sawyer that provides hope in a few of the events of his later childhood. Instead of spending his time making poor decisions like Huck Finn, Tom does things like testifying in Muff Potter’s trial, where he sets the record straight.
At an earlier age and an earlier stage of development, one might not have seen Tom make such a wise, responsible decision. Tom even uses his new found responsible nature to save himself. Like with any great work of literature, the character is not only thrown into positions where their new sense of self must save others, but they must also benefit themselves by making good choices. For Tom Sawyer, this happened when he had to bravely bring himself out of the treacherous cave in order to survive. An earlier version of Tom Sawyer probably would not have been able to pull that type of move off.
This Tom Sawyer was much different, though. With those things, he pushed himself into the third state of his own personal development. Everyone can clearly see his first two stages. He went from being the terrible kid on the block to being the kid who wanted to make good decisions. In his third stage of development, not only does Tom continue to make those good decisions, but he also tries to influence others to do the right thing. This is a very mature thing to do. Rarely are children able to have a mature enough sense about them to do something so profound.
This is how we know Tom has ascended to the brink of manhood. Tom’s ascension into manhood can be viewed in a couple of different ways. On one hand, he can only get there by relinquishing those aspects of childhood which he loves the most. This type of sacrifice is yet another indication of his new found maturity. Tom Sawyer spent many of his younger days fighting the establishment.
Before it was cool to go against authority, Tom was the rebel without a cause. When he came to this third stage of his maturity, he not only tried to bring others to responsibility, but he also recognized the need to abide by the social rules that were presented to him. For so long, he had been the one thorn in the side of society. By growing up, Tom not only understood these rules better, but he also submitted to them and learned to integrate them into his life. It is this part of his personal development that is so interesting to study.
Tom Sawyer’s life can be viewed in a number of different ways, but it is very telling and very interesting to view him as a developmental character. Since he is commonly viewed as one of the most representative characters of American childhood, considering his ascension to manhood is incredibly important. By viewing Tom Sawyer’s life in three very distinct stages, one can see the strides that he made during his time. He went from being a first rate pain in the rear to being a kid that every one admired. That sort of transformation is not one that is often seen. The book itself struggles with the idea that Tom Sawyer might be becoming a man.
Instead of simply jumping right into his maturity and running with it, the book struggles back and forth. Sometimes, Tom is presented as a character that has made it over the hump. Then, the book brings him right back down to size by presenting a situation like the one with Injun Joe. This is no accident. The author wants to make it very clear that, even though a character or person might take all of the right steps to maturity, the fight to maintain that is a very difficult and very real one. It is a profound idea that can be drawn from this reading and must be considered when trying to understand Tom’s development.
Tom Sawyer’s life can be viewed in a lot of different ways, but most like to see him as a development character. This is because, during the reading, the author takes us from place to place with Tom Sawyer. This does not only mean that Sawyer moves from venue to venue, but it means that his life moves from important stage to important stage. Those life development stages can be broken down into three very important parts. Tom Sawyer goes from being a child who wants to create a ruckus to being the young man who realizes his wrong doing. From there, he not only learns the right things to do, but he further integrates those things into his life.
During his final stage of development, Tom sheds those things from his childhood which threaten to hold back his development as a man. Though he makes his best attempt to reach childhood many times in the book, the reader is constantly reminded that Tom Sawyer fights a losing battle when trying to get rid of his childhood. Even though he might sometimes want to make the right decision, the circumstances of his life make it very difficult for him to fully grasp what it means to be a man. Through the course of the book, readers are offered some hope, however, that he will come around to the fullest.