Tom Sawyer Term Paper

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Tom Sawyer. There are four references used for this paper.

Mark Twain is one of America's most well-known and respected writers. It is interesting to define satire and how Twain uses it in the Sunday school scene in the book 'Tom Sawyer'.

Defining Satire

In order to understand how Mark Twain uses satire in his stories, it is important to understand exactly what satire is. Satire is a "literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. Satire is the literary art of diminishing or derogating a subject by making it ridiculous and evoking towards it attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, and indignation. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institutions of man's devising and attempts through laughter, not so much to tear them down, but to ridicule their folly and shortcomings to inspire a remodeling, if not of the institutions, then at least of the reader's view of them (tiger.towson.edu/users/nsmith6/whatissatire.htm)."

Mark Twain and Humor

Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens, is known for his use of Satire in writings. Although he originally wrote 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' with adults in mind, it has become a classic among young readers as well.

Twain's humor was noted when the book was reviewed by the New York Times in 1877. The columnist wrote "As a humorist, Mr. Clemens has a great deal of fun in him,
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of the true American kind, which crops out all over the book. Mr. Clemens has an audience both here and in England, and doubtless his friends across the water will re-echo 'the hearty laughs which the reading of Tom Sawyer will cause on this side of the world (www.twainquotes.com/18770113.html)."

Freedom

Mark Twain used satire to illustrate freedom and restraint. The concept of morality is intertwined with "freedom from restraint. Religion is mocked during Sunday and church with the overly pious sermonizing of the elocution exercises (www.northern.edu/hastingw/tomsawyer.htm)."

Mischievousness

Tom Sawyer and the other children must attend church with their families. Twain adds humor to the somberness of church be showing how mischievous little boys can be. Most children quickly become bored when forced to listen to long, dull sermons. While in Sunday school, Tom finds way to amuse himself by not only bothering the boy in front of him by pulling his hair, but also sticking a pin into another boy.

Twain also shows how even good kids can become quickly bored, as evidenced when Mr. Walters asks for the student's undivided attention. Mr. Walters is able to gain their attention with humor when he states, "That is the way good little boys and girls should do. I…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

(Mark Twain. (Accessed 03 December, 2004).


Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Chapter 4. New York and London: Harper and Brothers. (1903). Pp. 44-58. (Originally published in 1876).

(Unknown. "Book review for Tom Sawyer." The New York Times. January 13, 1877. (Accessed 03 December, 2004). ).

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