Tom Sawyer: Brave or Baloney?

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"Even Richard Hill, the most enthusiastic defender of the ending, moderates his description of Tom as "brilliant" and "brave" by adding that he "becomes drunk on romanticism and endangers Huck and Jim unnecessarily" (505)" (Scott 188).

I say, baloney! Really now people? Read the sentence again. Being "brilliant" and "brave" does not endanger anyone unnecessarily. That makes absolutely no sense. If you were brilliant you would not do anything unnecessarily. Also, while Kevin Michael Scott makes some great points in his essay, I still am not convinced that Tom was brought in to do good.

I think Twain included Tom Sawyer to demonstrate how much Huckleberry Finn had changed throughout the novel. Huck had become more grown up than Tom who was still stuck in his boyish phase. Huck could not see the point in any of Tom's endeavors, but simply went along with it because that was just his nature. 

William Cole mentions that, "every character is, by nature of the creative process, born stereotypical." Each character in the novel is introduced with a specific purpose and mindset. Tom was introduced into the story simply because Mark Twain wanted poke fun at the "romanticized southern society" (Scott 187). 

2 Comments

Jessica Apitsch said:

I too was having a hard time accepting this at first. But then after I read his closing remarks, I looked at Tom through a different eye. I thought he made a good point when he suggested Tom could be used as a role model for the corrupted society and this can be done by distinguishing between Tom's honor and society's honor. My blog explains all my points in between, but my closing thoughts were how Huck showed "what" society should be doing in a sense, but Tom's honor displayed "how" society should approach making the change towards the "what". I also said I agreed with Scott when he makes the point that Tom is a part of the society that he represents so well, therefore he would be a successful role-model. I feel society can relate to Tom better than Huck, as Huck withdrew himself a long time ago. With that said, Tom could be looked at first as a role model to get the ball rolling and then Huck will have a chance to have a bigger impact. I am not sure if I swayed you in any way to look at it a bit differently, but those were a few of my reactions. But believe me I experienced the same reactions for almost the entire novel, but the ending reeled me in.

"If you were brilliant you would not do anything unnecessarily." I think in describing Tom as brilliant he is not referring to his ability to do the "right" thing, but he is referring to the creativity and effort Tom puts into his schemes. I agree that Tom was not brought in to do good, and he was really brought in to show the reader the growth of Huck, but I feel you kind of have to accept the fact that Tom is quite brilliant in his own way.
Tom also represents everything that Huck admires but does not want to be. Tom has all these qualities that Huck wants, he wants to be adventurous and courageous. The reader sees that Huck is really the one with all these attributes while Tom just creates them for himself. It's interesting to see how Huck responds to society and lives the adventures as opposed to Tom who is begin raised in the society and Wants the adventures.

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