The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Storms Symbol Icon
Incidences of bad weather occur several times in the novel, each time signifying that Tom is in a particularly troubled psychological state. On Jackson's Island the homesick boys survive a storm that wreaks considerable damage on their ill-prepared campsite. When Becky is away for the summer and his friends are swept up in religious revivalism, a lonely Tom hides under his sheets during a storm that he imagines is meant to destroy him.

Storms Quotes in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The The Adventures of Tom Sawyer quotes below all refer to the symbol of Storms. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage Classics edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer published in 2010.
Chapter 22 Quotes
And that night there came on a terrific storm, with driving rain, awful claps of thunder and blinding sheets of lightning. He covered his head with the bedclothes and waited in a horror of suspense for his doom; for he had not the shadow of a doubt that all this hubbub was about him.
Related Characters: Tom Sawyer
Related Symbols: Storms
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, a wave of religiousness sweeps through Tom's town. Everyone prays extra hard--the adults, the children, the teachers, etc. Tom refuses to pray, until a night when he catches measles. Late at night, Tom hears a great storm blowing outside, and he concludes that God is punishing him and trying to impel him to be a better Christian.

While Tom's behavior might seem a bit irrational (just because there's a storm doesn't mean that God is sending you a message), but he's behaving no less rationally than the average American adult living in a small town at the time. Just like many adults in America at the time, Tom interprets storms and natural disasters as signs from God. it's also worth noting that Tom is still a classic narcissist--when a storm blows, his first reaction is that God must be sending him a sign!


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Storms Symbol Timeline in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The timeline below shows where the symbol Storms appears in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
Showing Off Theme Icon midnight, feeling something weird is in the air, and tells the others. A terrible storm breaks out. Their camp is ruined and the sycamore that had sheltered theirs bed is... (full context)
Chapter 22
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
Superstition, Fantasy, and Escape Theme Icon
Sentimentality and Realism Theme Icon
That night a terrible storm rages. Tome hides under his sheets, convinced that God has created the storm with the... (full context)