Thomas "Tom" Sawyer
is the title character of the Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...
novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the Town of "St...
(1876). He appears in three other novels by Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by...
(1884), Tom Sawyer Abroad
Tom Sawyer Abroad is a novel by Mark Twain published in 1894. It features Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in a parody of Jules Verne-esque adventure stories.-Plot:...
(1894), and Tom Sawyer, Detective
Tom Sawyer, Detective is an 1896 novel by Mark Twain. It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , and Tom Sawyer Abroad . Tom Sawyer attempts to solve a mysterious murder in this burlesque of the immensely popular detective novels of the time...
Sawyer also appears in at least three unfinished Twain works, Huck and Tom Among the Indians
, Schoolhouse Hill
, and Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy
. While all three uncompleted works were posthumously published, only Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy
has a complete plot, as Twain abandoned the other two works after finishing only a few chapters.
The fictional character's name may have derived from a real-life Tom Sawyer with whom Twain was acquainted in San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...
, while Twain was employed as a reporter at the San Francisco Call. The character himself is an amalgamation
Amalgamation or amalgam, when used to refer to a fictional character or place, refers to one that was created by combining, or is perceived to be a combination, of several other previously existing characters or locations...
of three boys Twain knew while growing up.
Tom Sawyer's best friends include Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn
Huckleberry "Huck" Finn is a fictional character created by Mark Twain, who first appeared in the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and is the protagonist and narrator of its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is 12 or 13 years old during the former and a year older at the time of the latter...
. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
, Tom's infatuation
Limerence is a term coined c. 1977 by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated...
with classmate Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher is apparent. He lives with his half brother Sid, his cousin Mary, and his stern Aunt Polly in the (fictional) town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. In addition, he has another aunt, Sally Phelps, who lives considerably farther down the Mississippi River, in the town of Pikesville. Tom is the son of Aunt Polly's dead sister.
In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
, Tom is only a minor character, and is used as a foil
In fiction, a foil is a character who contrasts with another character in order to highlight particular qualities of another character....
for Huck, particularly in the later chapters of the novel after Huck makes his way to the Phelps plantation. Tom's immaturity, imagination, and obsession with stories put Huck's planned rescue of the runaway slave Jim in great jeopardy — and ultimately make it totally unnecessary, since he knows that Jim's owner has died and freed him in her will. Throughout the novel, Huck's intellectual and emotional development is a central theme, and by re-introducing a character from the beginning (Tom), Mark Twain is able to highlight this evolution in Huck's character.