Tom is an ornery little thing isn’t he? The kind of kid that’s so busy having fun that he doesn’t see what could possibly be wrong with what he’s doing. Poor Aunt Polly! Try as she might, she just doesn’t seem to be getting through to him. He’s getting into trouble for one thing and at the same time is thinking about the next thing he could be doing. Or he’s sweet talking his way out of something! Even still, you can’t help but like him. His enthusiasm over what he’s caught up in is contagious.
He does have a knack of convincing people to do things doesn’t he? I thought he was pretty smart to get the neighborhood boys to do his punishment! And he comes out smelling like a rose with Aunt Polly. I thought he made quite an interesting observation after all the whitewashing is done: “In order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” It made me wonder if I was like that. Do I want something more if it’s hard for me to get? Maybe so.
Did you laugh as hard as I did over Tom’s Sunday school escapade? Twain shows us some of his brilliant satire during this section. Did you catch it? According to Webster, “Satire evokes attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, or indignation toward its faulty subject in the hope of somehow improving it.” Twain apparently felt that memorizing verses like this wasn’t for any growth spiritually, but to make the teacher look good. In this case, I definitely see Twain’s point!
We had a brief glimpse of Huckleberry Finn in these chapters: “cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town.” Of course Tom is drawn to him. This did not surprise me in the least. I’m imagining the fantastic adventures he’ll have with his pal Huck and can’t wait to see what trouble they get into together.
Enter Becky Thatcher. Oh my. Tom falls head over heels in love with her at first site. Bye-bye Amy Lawrence. Childhood romance can be so heartbreaking! Even though he doesn’t know her name, Tom shows off for Becky and she seems to like it. It wasn’t very tragical for him to be made to sit with her as punishment at school. (Anne Shirley would have been mortified!) He wins her heart and scrawls “I love you” on his slate. Their engagement made me laugh! And of course Tom digs himself a hole when he tells that this isn’t his first time getting engaged. He swears his undying love, but she’ll have no part of it. The games people play while professing love for one another are amazing, aren’t they? Poor Tom decides not to try to pacify her and we ended this section of reading with him leaving and Becky crying. Will this young couple forgive each other? And what sorts of trouble will Tom get himself into next? We’ll have to read on to find out!
Reading for week two: Adventures of Tom Sawyer chapters 8- 14
Things to ponder:
- What did you think of Tom’s whitewashing idea? Do you see Tom as a leader among his peers?
- From Tom’s point of view, Huckleberry Finn is the best playmate he could have. What reasons did adults give for not wanting their children around him? Would you let your children play with Huck?
- Why do you think Tom wouldn’t come back after Becky refused his “chiefest jewel” and threw it down?
Contributed by: Lynnette Johnson (NDM#271) Lynnette is the DDL Book of the Month Blogger.