April 08, 2022

#08-201: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Tom tricks friends into whitewashing the fence
(from a U.S. Postage stamp)

Note: Mark Twain introduced his character Huckleberry Finn in this previous book, about Huck's friend Tom Sawyer.

Get Ready: How did you spend your childhood? Were you able to run about the neighborhood freely, or did you mostly stay inside? Which would you prefer?

Mark Twain's masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is a sequel to this popular work, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Friends Tom and Huck live in St. Petersburg, Missouri, which is based on Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. Tom is an orphan living with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid, sometime in the 1840s.

Once, as punishment for skipping school, Tom has to whitewash his aunt's fence, and tricks his friends into doing his work--and paying him for it! Tom loves a girl named Becky Thatcher, daughter of a judge, but she rejects him.

One night Tom and Huck go to a graveyard at midnight, where they witness a trio of body snatchers robbing a grave. One of the men passes out drunk, and a second--Injun Joe, a very bad man--gets into a fight with the third and kills him. Injun Joe frames the drunk, Muff Potter, for the murder. Muff is jailed, and believes he killed the man while blacked out. Tom and Huck swear to each other not to tell a soul about the murder, fearing Injun Joe would kill them in turn.

Bored by school, Tom runs away with Huck and another friend, Joe Harper; they plan to become "pirates" on Jackson's Island in the Mississippi River. But they learn that the townspeople think they have drowned in the river, and they sneak back home to startle everyone by appearing at their own funeral!

Tom decides to testify against Injun Joe; when Joe escapes from custody, the boys fear his revenge. While looking for "treasure" in a "haunted house," the boys overhear Injun Joe and a confederate planning to hide a real treasure, which they hope to find.

Meanwhile, during summer holiday, Tom and Becky get lost for several days in McDougal's Cave. While there, Tom sees Injun Joe, who doesn't see him. After the kids come out, Becky's father orders the cave sealed as a danger to public safety. When Tom hears this two weeks later, he realizes Injun Joe must still be inside; a party of men opens the cave and finds Injun Joe's corpse just inside the sealed entrance, starved to death.

Tom deduces that Joe's treasure must still be inside; the boys find the gold and give it to the adults, who invest it for them.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. blacked out
  2. body snatchers
  3. confederate
  4. corpse
  5. deduces
  6. masterpiece
  7. orphan
  8. startle
  9. testify
  10. whitewash

  1. someone's greatest work
  2. a dead body
  3. tell information in court
  4. unconscious
  5. surprise; shock
  6. a child without parents
  7. figures out
  8. "paint" with a cheap material
  9. an accomplice
  10. people who take the dead from their graves

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 8, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. j; 3. i; 4. b; 5. g; 6. a; 7. f; 8. e; 9. c; 10. h