Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- When Written: 1874-1875
- Where Written: Hartford, Connecticut
- When Published: 1876
- Literary Period: American Realism
- Genre: The novel is a hybrid of several genres, including satire, comedy, and folk narrative. It may be categorized as a picaresque novel because it's composed of a series of episodic adventures involving an impish child. As the story of Tom's moral development from boyhood into adulthood, it can also be described as a bildungsroman.
- Setting: The fictional village of St. Petersburg, which is based on Twain's boyhood home of Hannibal, Missouri
- Climax: Lost in MacDougal's Cave with Becky, Tom is searching the tunnels for a way out when he encounters Injun Joe, who runs away. (This is the major climax of the novel because Tom is its hero, but a secondary climax occurs at the same chronological time when Huck tells the Welchman that Injun Joe and the stranger are on their way to the widow Douglas's house to get violent revenge.)
- Antagonist: Injun Joe
- Point of View: The novel is narrated in the omniscient third person, though it is the voice of an adult with sympathetic insight into the struggles of boyhood.
Illustrated text: The original publication of Tom Sawyer by the American Publishing Company included 160 illustrations by True Williams. It is believed that the publisher might have intended that the pictures bulk up the rather short manuscript.
Hit rock song: The Canadian group Rush wrote "Tom Sawyer" to celebrate Twain's character for his individualism and spirited determination.