Fitz Eight Grade English
Tom Sawyer Essay
A Resourceful Approach to Life
she 'lowed SHE'D 'tend to de whitewashin'."
"Oh, never you mind what she said, Jim. That's the way she always talks.
Gimme the bucket--I won't be gone only a a minute. SHE won't ever know."
[The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain]
“Like it? Well, I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?” [Excerpt From: Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Chapter 2]
Tom demonstrates the unique ability of remaining open to deciding his own personal beliefs, despite the fact that his head is constantly being bombarded with the "wisdom" of adults. From Tom's controlling Aunt Polly to his red-faced yelling schoolmaster to the orthodox Reverend who quotes The Bible, Tom is always being told how to act and what to believe. Tom exhibits his independent way of thinking by using his skepticism to discover his own truth and by taking what he hears and observes with a "grain of salt." In Chapter Four, Tom slowly rises from his bed, showing reluctance, and most importantly: an open mind. It was a Sunday morning, the sun was glistening, the wind whistled sweetly in the distance, and the children ran and laughed as church bells rung pleasantly. Tom's Aunt Polly was parading around the house in an effort to awaken Tom for church. She placed a large basin of fresh soapy water at the foot of Tom's bed and began to complain about Tom's greasy and untidy hair. His Aunt spent a good majority of time attacking Tom's hair and finally left looking satisfied. Tom continued to spend every minute of his Sunday morning completing his Aunt's tedious tasks with silence, but never failed to throw looks of anger and reluctance at his aunt. Through his skepticism, he was able to create his own opinions: "He privately smoothed out the curls, with labor and difficulty, and plastered his hair close down to his head; for he held curls to be effeminate, and his own filled his life with bitterness." [Chapter 4] Tom is consistently being told what to do and what not to do. Tom grows up in a community were adults are always tampering with the lives of the children and the adults are always sharing their "wisdom," which is almost in every case, "right." Tom is lucky to possess the desire to become his "own" person with his "own" set of beliefs because if it were not for his skepticism, he would never learn to doubt what is considered to be the "right" way. Tom shows his burning desire for independence by courageously showing his dislike to the most "important" of things. Whenever Tom is told what to do, he turns his nose upward and shows his skeptical ways. For example, he made Tom continues to show that he, under no circumstance, comprehends information without thinking skeptically with an open mind. Tom proves that with a skeptical approach, you can develop a clear sense of who you are and what you want to be.