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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


by Mark Twain

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Many of the characters and locations in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer were based on real people and places from Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. There was even a real Injun Joe, although he wasn't a murder. Twain also acknowledged several literary inspirations for the book, including Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. As far as he saw it, Tom, the dreamer, was like Don Quixote, and Huck was a bit like Quixote's earnest, unlearned companion Sancho Panza. ("Sources For Characters." The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. By Mark Twain. Mark Twain Library, 1982.)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer doesn't just feature pirates – or, to be more precise, boys pretending to be pirates – it was actually pirated. First published in England, an unauthorized edition of the book made its way into the United States via Canada. As a result, Twain lost a significant amount of money in royalties. (Source)

Twain did not initially set out to write a story for children. He was sure, even after he finished, that Tom Sawyer was "not a boy's book." Twain's friend and fellow author William Dean Howells convinced him otherwise. (Source)

Mark Twain was not the author's real name. His actual name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The name "Mark Twain" was riverboat language for the minimum water depth required to prevent a boat from running aground. (Source)

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