"Not a Boy's Book at All": Tom Sawyer Part 1


Mark Twain’s commitment to realism is exemplified by his child heroes in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Twain takes their consciousness seriously, and he also uses the children to reflect satirically on adults. A major theme of Tom Sawyer—which is set on the edge of the Western frontier—is the tension between innocence and liberty on the one hand, and the necessity of civilization on the other.


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Kelly Scott Franklin is assistant professor of English at Hillsdale College, where he teaches American literature and the great books. He received his M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College, an M.A. in English from The Catholic University of America, and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He has written for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, Commonweal, Comparative American Studies, The Federalist, and the Catholic World Report.