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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


by Mark Twain

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

  • John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress (2.1) ["Delectable Land" recalls the "Delectable Mountains in Bunyan's book.]
  • The Bible (1.23), specifically the Book of Revelation (5.9)
  • Robin Hood tales (8.15-35; 26.12-22)
  • Various pirate stories, including: Ned Buntline, The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main, or the Fiend of Blood (8.2; 13.9-15)
  • Compositions taken from Prose and Poetry, by a Western Lady (21.Note) Twain attributes the various "compositions" that appear in the chapter to this book, but he gives no further information.
  • Lord Byron, "The Destruction of Sennacherib"
  • William Shakespeare, Richard III (25.37) (the reference may simply be to the historical King Richard III of England, although Shakespeare's drama is the first thing that comes to mind when the name is mentioned.)
  • Von Munch Bellinghausen, Ingomar the Barbarian (13.3) – the line "two souls but with a single thought" is taken from the play.

Historical References

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