Tom Sawyer, the main character in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by MARK TWAIN, is an eleven to thirteen-year-old boy, who lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid in St. Petersburg, Missouri.
Tom's mother died when he was younger. Unlike his younger half-brother, Tom is a very lively child, not easy to handle for Aunt Polly. Tom is more interested in adventures than in going to school. He often stays away from school in order to have some fun.
In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (see PDF 1) the reader gets to know Tom in a number of different situations, having to do with different people, his Aunt, the teacher, even some criminals. One of the most exciting sections deals with Tom and his sweetheart Becky Thatcher getting lost in the caves near the river. After three days without food and light Tom uses a kite-line to mark their way. Eventually he finds a passage to the outside and the children are rescued. Injun Joe, the crimnal, is locked inside the cave and dies. Tom and his friend Huck find Injun Joe's treasure which they divide among them. Huck is taken care of by the Widow Douglas. Huck is unable to put up with the good manners the Widow teaches him, and runs away. Tom persuades him to return if he wants to become a member of Tom's gang.
Huck tells The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (see PDF 2) in his own language. Before Huckleberry Finn, Tom's friend, was adopted by the Widow Douglas, he was an outcast of the community, every child's idol of and every mother's source of fear and irritation. He had been brought up as a motherless child by his father, the town drunkard. He had never been taught any rules nor had he ever had to go to school. He passed the time as he pleased.
Now the Widow tries to change Huck's ways and to educate him with the help of her sister, Miss Watson. One day Huck's drunken father turns up and takes Huck away. Huck fears his father's violent behaviour and escapes by pretending to have drowned. He joins Jim, Miss Watson's runaway slave, and becomes his companion.
The greater part of the novel describes how Huck and Jim travel the Mississippi on a raft. They meet various characters and pass through a number of adventures, always in fear of being recognized and caught. For example, they become involved in the rivalry between the Grangerford and the Shepherdson families; later they are joined by two impostors who trick people out of their savings and even sell Jim at Phelps' plantation. Huck helps to track down the criminals who are punished in the end. Jim finally learns that Miss Watson has given him his freedom in her will. Tom Sawyer makes Jim his captive and plans to free him, because he also wants to accompany Jim on the raft.
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