The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Essay

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McIntosh-Byrd is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. In the following essay she explores the ways in which Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer can be read as a powerful critique of American identity.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an extremely difficult work to approach analytically because it is so embedded in the reader's own childhood. It is read in classrooms throughout the English-speaking world, and has become iconographic of childhood itself - especially American childhood. Indeed, this has been its reception from its initial publication. The first review, written by William Dean Howells in 1876, called it "a wonderful study of the boy-mind" which exists beyond the control or comprehension of adult society. His comments appeared in Atlantic Monthly before the book was even published, and thus set the framework for the way in which the novel would be read. Clemens himself did not read...

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This section contains 1,801 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Study Guide
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Novels for Students
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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