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Throughout the course of human history, individuals have always adopted the use of various literary styles and beliefs as well as movements. All this is aimed at satisfying the desire of expressing ideas in the best way possible and in a logical, orderly, and objective manner. The decade of the 1800s is highly represented in literature work in which real life experiences of children as they grew up. Some issues such as poverty, racism, materialism, and corruption are some of the issues addressed in literary work (Ismail 1). In the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Taiwan explores the life of a typical American boy named Tom Sawyer. In this case, he portrays children as a creature that can be manipulated in a manner that influences them to take certain paths (Twain (b) 123). For instance, it can convince them to go to church, school, and do something that proves their responsibility. The work is one of the greatest American literature work in which Mark Taiwan explores childhood experiences. The story revolves around a young child and his adventures before the industrial era capturing the idylls of boyhood. The author uses his main character to symbolize the transition between the childhood and adulthood worlds. The work therefore epitomizes American childhood in which children have fun, engage in mischief, and dream about their future life as well as problems they go through.
The novel focuses on the experiences of children in America and their way of life before the era of industrialization. The young stage for kids is a moment of fun and games in addition to dreams about future life. Taiwan depicts the life of young boys as full of mischief as they try to understand the environment in which they live and the people they interact with every day (Twain (b) 123). He writes about his childhood experiences in a colorful manner and descriptions that creates an image of the happenings during this era. Childhood in America can be fun and sometimes full of challenges when expectations are never met. In this case, Taiwan takes the reader through American environment in the 1800s and the experiences of children. The fact that the protagonist does not seem to come of his age indicates that Taiwan is only interested in showing the real experiences of growing in America. As a child growing in the American soil, Sawyer has many hopes, dreams, and plans and he is confused since he does not know where to start. His boyish ideas are weird since he wants to become a robber or a pirate. Identifying with this character is quite difficult since his desires appear silly and the reader can only laugh at such ideas from a young mind. Huck says to Tom that he "don't give a dern for a thing 'thout it's tollable hard to git" (Taiwan (a) 35.9). This indicates that the childhood dreams of sawyer are weird and achieving them may be unrealistic. The experiences of sawyer as a young boy are a true depiction of America during the transition period. Children always dreamt of becoming important people in future and some work to achieve it while others relax and achieve their desires.
American childhood during the era was full of racial stereotypes and the novel also focuses on this aspect. Villain, Injun Joe is a character in the novel who is half native-American and faces racial prejudice. Since the story is set in the 1800s in Missouri, slavery cannot be ignored since it was the slave state. Children were very much affected by slavery and discrimination in their daily lives, which made life quite difficult. Some dialect used by Taiwan reveals the differences that existed between children of slaves such as Jim and the white American kids. For instance, Jim says "Can't, Mars Tom. Ole missis, she tole me I got to go an' git dis water an' not stop foolin' roun' wid anybody." (Taiwan (a) 2.5). This exaggerates Jim’s way of talking and indicates the inequality that existed among the children of America in the 1800s. Life during the time involved distrusts between the slaves of black Americans and the white Americans. Growing up in America, that time entailed inheriting some traits from parents such as negative attitude towards the minority groups. Sawyer does not trust the black slaves although he interacts with them frequently. He argues “Well, what of it? … But I never see a nigger that wouldn't lie. Shucks!" (Taiwan (a) 6.65). This indicates his disgust and expresses his nasty feelings about the Black slaves. Children of African slaves could play with the rest but they still faced discrimination and insults. As they all grew up they knew that there were divisions and the white American children enjoyed several privileges. Children used to be taught religion and went to church although some did not find it appealing. It was very boring especially during the sermons that were tedious to their children. However, they did not have any choice since they were required to memorize Bible verses by their parents and teachers. Despite religion being an aspect of the society, racism was rampant among the parents and kids. Although the children used to play together and socialize, those of African slaves suffered prejudice from their peers. The novel brings out the daily life of an American child in the 1800s when slavery used to be rampant and racial stereotyping was quite common.
The novel depicts the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of an American child, in the 1800s. In the opening chapter, the character of sawyer is clear since he is described as mischievous trying to confuse any adult who tries to test his young and energetic nature. He is a playful boy showing the nature of children in America on their way to or from school. However, his half brother, Sid is a “good boy” whose character is opposite that of sawyer (sawyer (b) 123). It brings out the children’s relationship with the world and the fact that the author does not specify the age of sawyer leaves the reader to guess it depending on the actions of the character. The life of an American moves from enjoyment to boyhood games as well as portraying the challenges of being young in the American society. The characters such as Tom are dynamic in which they are involved in childhood activities and other times they become very mature. As the boys mature, they encounter several challenges and engage in dishonest and wicked ways. Injum Joe murders Robinson, a young doctor without a genuine reason and during trial, he escapes through the window. This depicts the mischief of young people in the society in which some of them get involved in crime such as murder. American childhood in the 1800s was tough as depicted by the novelist especially for boys as they moved through various stages of life (Ismail 2). They had to encounter evil on their way and find a way to maneuver through it. Sawyer embraces themes, which have connections with the American society in the 1870s. Childhood life was interesting, tasking and at the same time full of challenges as children were supposed to help in several chores including in the farms. As they grew up there were psychological, Physical, emotional, moral, and intellectual developments needed to make one a fully responsible individual in the American society.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer focuses on the childhood experiences of American children in the 18700s and Taiwan helps readers to understand the theme of human wickedness and goodness. Although the period is not indicated by the author readers can infer that it was in the 1800s when Negro slaves worked in many households. Children are forced to go to school, memorize Bible verses, and go to church to promote good image. The plot of the novel assists the reader to appreciate the events that occurred and the way they affected children. The daily activities of the children in school, on their way home, and at home are well depicted in the novel.
Ismail, Taufik. "The Main Characters’character in Mark Twain’s the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn of Huckleberry Finn of Huckleberry Fi." (2014).
Twain, Mark (a). The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Race Point Publishing, 2016.
Twain, Mark (b). "Justify a Traditional Custom, the Harder it is to Get Rid of It.—Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2011, 67) A Reflection on the American Mutation of Stupidity-Consciousness into the Slacker Ethos of the ‘Whatever’would Reveal a So-Far Unmarked Counter impulse to the Pervasive Stupidity of American Culture." Esthetic Experiments: Interdisciplinary Challenges in American Studies (2014): 123.
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