Chapter 1 Notes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 1

As the book begins, an old woman is calling for Tom Sawyer. This woman is Tom's Aunt Polly. He is in trouble, and she's going to give Tom a whipping. Before she can, however, he yells, "'My! Look behind you, Aunt!'" Chapter 1, pg. 2 and dashes away. Aunt Polly, being a kind woman, laughs at Tom's escape. Assuming he will play hookey from school that afternoon, she decides it's best just to put him to work all day Saturday as punishment.

When Tom returns, he helps Jim, "the small colored boy," saw wood and split kindling before dinner. Tom spends most of this time letting Jim work and telling him of his day's adventures. Sid, Tom's half-brother, is already done with his chores; unlike Tom, he is very well-behaved.

At dinner, Aunt Polly asks Tom about his day. Tom has spent the afternoon swimming, but he is prepared for Aunt Polly. He tells her that he got his hair wet under a pump, and then shows her that his shirt-collar is still sewn shut. Sid speaks up and points out that Aunt Polly used white thread to sew Tom's shirt, but now the thread is black. Tom sewed his collar together again after swimming! Tom dashes out the door before Aunt Polly can scold him, threatening Sid as he goes.

Topic Tracking: Growing Up 1

"He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though--and loathed him." Chapter 1, pg. 4

Once Tom is away, he forgets his problems and wanders, whistling as he goes, until he sees a boy he's never seen before. The boy is dressed very nicely, unlike most boys who live in St. Petersburg. This boy has new clothes and a fancy hat and shoes, and Tom resents his clean, "citified" look. The two boys argue, shove, and threaten each other, and then fight. Tom makes the boy give up, but as the boy walks away he throws a rock at Tom. Tom chases the boy home and stays there until the boy's mother chases him off. When Tom gets home, Aunt Polly looks at his clothes and decides that Tom will do a full day of chores the next day.

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