Whether you are a child or an adult, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a wonderful read. But isn’t it amazing how different the experience is reading the book as a child versus reading it as an adult?
Looking back on reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as a youth, it rejuvenates memories of a spooky graveyard, playing pranks on adults and exploring life and everything in it to its fullest. There was danger, adventure, and great mysteries to be solved within its covers.
As an adult, much bolder issues blot the story’s pages – discrimination based on social class, the effects of alcoholism, and slavery, to name a few. While these deeper social elements embedded within the text don’t ruin the second reading of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, they do add a few pounds of emotional weight and a few layers of literary meat to its juvenile bones that didn’t come with the original childhood reading.
As a mature reader, Chapters XXIX-XXXII become particularly interesting as several characters stop being one-dimensional and begin to develop outside of their stereotype. Huck is a perfect example. For the first time in the story, he is seen without Tom, making his own decisions and choices. Twain finally allows readers to see Huck as not just the poor kid in the village who everyone pities and avoids, but as a secret hero who helps save the Widow Douglas’s life.