Thoughts and recurring themes
“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why” -Mark Twain
There are some important themes in the first ten chapters of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, most of which focus on the power of words and how Tom uses them to manipulate people. One theme is that the boys in the town are always trying to impress each other and “one-up” each other and they often do this by lying or saying stupid things. For example, when Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are talking about different ways to remove warts and many illogical remedies, they are trying to sound smart and look cool to each other. Another theme throughout the opening chapters is that Tom is not the best at staying focused or working hard, but he does work hard at tricking people to do his hard work for him. He works very hard at finding a way to get out doing things he doesn’t want to do. For example, in the beginning of the book when he is told to whitewash a fence by his aunt, Tom persuades every boy that walked by to do his work for him in exchange for one of their small gifts. Not only did Tom get out of his work, but he also gained much “wealth” from the boys who had to pay for the privilege of doing Tom’s work for him. Another common theme is that Tom is very good at using his words to trick people and to get himself out of trouble in almost any situation. For example, with his aunt, Tom was very close to getting away with skipping school and would have talked his way out of it until Sid ratted him out. Tom’s nosy sibling, Sid, noticed the mis-colored thread on his button, which was the only reason Tom didn’t get away with playing hooky. Tom had used his language effectively to get out of the situation but he was brought back in by Sid. These themes of using language and words to show off, trick people into doing your hard work for you, and to get out of trouble are often seen in the opening chapters of the book and help to show the type of person Tom is.