Topics for Discussion

1. Twain prefaces the novel by stating that it is intended to “pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves,” but much of the book deals with unpleasantness. Discuss the darker side of the book. How does Twain remind his readers of some of the fears and insecurities of growing up?

2. Twain is sometimes called a “realist” writer. Are Tom, Huck, and Becky accurate portraits of young people?

3. Discuss Tom Sawyer as an adventure book. Compare its plot with those of other books, films, or television shows in which young people are menaced by villains, search for treasure, and win community approval.

4. Does Tom change in the novel? Discuss ways in which he “grows up.”

5. Discuss the Setting of the book. How does each significant place help in telling the story? Are some places more memorable? Why? Read again the descriptions of the places you remember best. What details are significant?

6. Discuss Injun Joe. Is he a believable character? Why? Is he given any motivation for his actions? Is he extended any sympathy? Compare him with villains in other stories.

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