The Adventures of Tom Swayer – The relationship between the literary world and characterization

Select one of the novels you have read to comment on the relationship between the literary world and characterization.

The story in the fiction, the Adventures of Tom Swayer, happened in an ordinary town on the Mississipi River during the first half of nineteenth-century. This fiction focuses on the adventures of Tom Swayer, through which reveals much about the vulgar sides of society, such as people’s atrocity by the story of Injun Joe. It is also criticize the trite school education. The author wrote the children’s lively mind in a happy strain. Thus, the fiction shows us a true version of society.

During the course of writing fictions, the character can be exhibited by indirect presentations, such as the action, speech, and a certain environment that character lives in. A person’s speech, action and social environment can reveal much about his or her dynamic or unchanging aspect. Tom Swayer has a good heart and a strong moral conscience. Although a child he is, he went to the court and spoke up for the innocent Injun Joe. In the court he said, “And as the doctor fetched the board around and Muff Potter fell, Injun Joe jumped with the knife and…”

On the other hand, readers can get to know the character by the some direct descriptions or definition. Thus, the traits of the character can be named by some adjective words or some noun. In the Adventures of Tom Swayer, Tom was once left his home to be a pirate, and during that time he snuck into home once. Thus, he overheard his aunt’s comment on him, and it goes like that: “But as I was saying,” said the Aunt Polly, “he warn’t bad, so to say-only mischievous. Only just giddy, and harum-scarum, you know. He warn’t any more responsible than a colt. He never meant any harm, and he was the best-hearted boy that ever was.” This version of the comment on Tom may seem to be different from the previous impression of Tom. There is no doubt that Tom is “mischievous”, but just as Polly put it he never mean any harm, which can be seen from the rest of the story.

The literal world would largely determine the characterization. But it cannot be said that characterization is always in the passive position. In the adventures of Tom Saywer, the protagonist Tom, we say he is a “mischievous” boy and like to “show off”. But as a matter of fact, he desired to be recognized by others, and thus he was much influenced by external environment and social standard. He managed to gather tickets, and finally he got the prize, a Bible. In addition, living in a material world, he also wants to be wealthy. However, he does not always observe the rigorous standards. He often played hooky, and was much punish due to it. He got sick of school life, and was fascinated by the carefree life of pirate. When he left home, he experienced a period life of being a pirate. Therefore, although characterization was determined by the literal world, it is not always in a passive position.

参与评论