Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
In Mark Twain’s novel, Tom Sawyer, he narrates the life of a young boy. This novel takes place in St. Petersburg, a fictional Missouri village on the west bank of the Mississippi River in and around which the entire novel is set. The village is modeled on the real, but larger, Hannibal, Missouri, in which Twain himself lived as a boy. Like Hannibal, it has a wooded promontory on its north side and a huge limestone cave to its south. Tom Sawyer lives near its center in a two-story house that closely resembles Twain’s own home of the 1840’s. However, the fictional St. Petersburg also has elements of the tiny inland village of Florida, Missouri, where Twain was born and spent most of his summers while growing up, and thus evokes an even more old fashion town than a real riverfront village might be.
Seen through Tom’s eyes, St. Petersburg is a world within its self. It is an atmosphere of positive nineteenth century small-town American values that offers almost everything that a boy coming of age could want like rugged sports, Fourth of July picnics, lot of stuff to entertain himself, (repetitive, remove) romance, imaginary adventures, and even (repetitive, remove) scary life or death adventures. A mostly sunny place, St. Petersburg reflects Twain’s cheerful need for his childhood that haunts him, which he regarded as a “paradise” for boys refers to the name “St. Petersburg,” after the gatekeeper to Heaven.(does not make sense) Although it appears generally safer and more comfortable than its historical counterpart, it also has an ominous dark side, symbolized by the lurking presence of the murderous Injun Joe, a haunted house, the danger of drowning in the river, and recurrent epidemics. A striking false note in the St. Petersburg of Tom Sawyer, however, is the near invisibility of African American slavery, which was a brutal fact of everyday life in both Twain’s Hannibal and the St. Petersburg.
Missouri is the state in which St. Petersburg appears to be located. A frontier state at the time of Twain’s youth, Missouri represents a remote western outpost of American civilization in Tom Sawyer. Tom reads enough to be aware of the outside world, but the Missouri in which he lives is so remote from the rest of the United States that a senator who visits his village is looked upon as something akin to a god.
Mississippi River was the North America’s mightiest river, the Mississippi plays a less important role in Tom Sawyer than it does in Huckleberry Finn, but its presence is nonetheless felt throughout. It represents a possible avenue of escape to the outside world and when Tom and his friends take a raft to the river’s Jackson’s Island to become pirates there is a force that swallows up drowning victims.
Cardiff Hill is on the north side of St. Petersburg referring closely on Hannibal’s real Holliday’s Hill (now usually called “Cardiff” itself), which rises three hundred feet above the river. Described as a faraway and “Delectable Land, dreamy, reposeful and inviting,” it is the place to which Tom usually flees to escape responsibility by playing make-believe games. However, it is also the site of the haunted house and is a place menaced by Injun Joe, both reminders that perhaps no place in St. Petersburg is completely safe.
McDougal’s Cave the limestone caverns several miles south of St. Petersburg modeled on a huge cave that Twain explored in his younger years. The fictional cave is even larger and provides an eerie setting for the novel’s dramatic climax, in which Tom and Becky Thatcher get lost in the pitch-black cave. After a terrifying near encounter with Injun Joe who uses the cave as a hideout. Tom faces an apparently hopeless situation. However, he performs his greatest act of heroism by leading Becky Thatcher to safety, and his emergence from the cave symbolizes his final coming of age.
Huckleberry Fin was Toms best friend. Although Huckleberry got in trouble so many times, he was still Toms friend. While they were going go the grave yard with a dead cat, they saw shadows, so they hid behind a bush, but when the shadows got closer, they realized that it was people and one of them was Injun Joe. Huckleberry pointed him out and told Tom there probably drunk. When Injun Joe got mad and stabbed one of the men he was with, and then blamed it on the other guy. Tom and Huckleberry were downright speechless. They stared at the dead body and then Tom broke a branch and Injun Joe looked around and walked away. By morning the town herd, the lie and went for a hunt for the man while Injun Joe stood and watched the man get accused. Tom and Huckleberry would go and visit the man and give him some food and some smokes. When the day came to hang the man Injun Joe just watched as he got hanged.