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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. 7 th Grade Literature. Lesson 1: Setting the Scene. A living language always reflects the time in which it is spoken, as well as where it is spoken. The characters in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer use informal English.

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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the adventures of tom sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

7th Grade Literature

lesson 1 setting the scene
Lesson 1: Setting the Scene
  • A living language always reflects the time in which it is spoken, as well as where it is spoken.
  • The characters in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer use informal English.
    • They use dialects, idioms, and slang, which add to the richness and local color of the story.
setting the scene
Setting the Scene
  • Add the following definitions to your notebook.
  • Dialect: a variation of language from region to region.
    • Differs from standard English in pronunciation, word choice, and sentence structure.
      • Ex: Injun= Indian
      • Ex: swaller= swallow
  • Idiom: a phrase that has local or regional meaning that differs from its literal meaning.
    • Phrase cannot be translated literally.
    • Ex: Hang that boy= an expression of anger
setting the scene1
Setting the Scene
  • Slang: new meaning given to old words
    • Ex: blowed on= reported or told on someone, from the expression, “blow the whistle on”
  • “Tom, we’ll never find him. A feller don’t have only one chance for such a pile– and that one’s lost. I’d feel mighty shaky if I was to see him anyway.”
  • “Well, so’d I; but I’d like to see him, anyway– and track him out– to his Number Two.”
  • “Number Two– yes, that’s it. I ben thinking ‘bout that. But I can’t make nothing out of it. What do you reckon it is?”
  • “I dono. It’s too deep. Say, Huck– Maybe it’s the number of a house!”
  • “Goody! … No, Tom, that ain’t it. If it is, it ain’t in this one-horse town. They ain’t no numbers here.”
  • Then he robbed the body. After which he put the fatal knife in Potter’s open right hand, and sat down on the dismantled coffin. Three—four—five minutes passed, and then Potter began to stir and moan. His hand closed upon the knife; he raised it, glanced at it, and let it fall, with a shudder. Then he sat up, pushing the body from him, and gazed at it, and then around him, confusedly. His eyes met Joe’s.
  • “Lord, how’s this, Joe?” he said.
  • “It’s a dirty business, “ said Joe, without moving. “What did you do it for?”
  • “I! I never done it!”
  • “Look here! That kind of talk won’t wash.”
  • Potter trembled and turned white.
  • “Siddy, I’ll lick you for that.”
  • In a safe place Tom examined two large needles which were thrust into the lapels of his jacket and had thread bout about them– one needle carried white thread and the other black. He said:
  • “She’d never noticed if it hadn’t been for Sid. Confound it! Sometimes she sews it with white thread, and sometimes she sews it with black. I wish to geeminy she’d stick to one or t’other– I can’t keep the run of ‘em. But I bet you I’ll lam Sid for that. I’ll learn him!”
  • He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though– and loathed him.
  • “Well, midnight’s good, anyway, Tom.”
  • “Yes, so it is. And you’ve got to swear on a coffin, and sign it with blood.”
  • “Now that’s something like! Why, it’s a million times bullier than pirating. I’ll stick to the widder till I rot, Tom; and if I git to be a reg’lar ripper of a robber, and everybody talking about it, I reckon she’ll be proud she snaked me in out of the wet.”
  • Now one snore ceased. Injun Joe sat up, stared around– smiled grimly upon his comrade, whose head was drooping upon his knees– stirred him up with his foot and said:
  • “Here! You’re a watchman, ain’t you! All right, though– nothing’s happened.”
  • “My! Have I been asleep?”
  • “Oh, partly, partly. Nearly time for us to be moving, pard. What’ll we do with what little swag we’ve got left?”
  • “I don’t know– leave it here as we’ve always done, I reckon. No use to take it away till we start south. Six hundred and fifty in silver’s something to carry.”
  • “Well– all right– it won’t matter to come here once more.”
chapter 1 discussion and activities
Chapter 1 Discussion and Activities
  • In the opening chapter of Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly searches for Tom by peering above and beneath her spectacles: “She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy.”
    • Do you think it’s possible that adults have difficulty seeing the realities of adolescence?
    • Is it that Aunt Polly can’t see through Tom’s character?
ch 1 continued
Ch. 1 continued
  • “Hang the boy, can’t I never learn anything? Ain’t he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is”
    • Does Tom share Aunt Polly’s perception that there’s no fool like an old fool?
    • Is it Tom’s intent to sensitize the adult world to their foolishness?
    • Does the author suggest that foolish pranks associated with adolescence pale in comparison to the blunders committed by “wiser” adults?
  • In your notebook, take a few minutes to write a journal entry that explains your personal success in outwitting a “caring” elder.
ch 1 continued1
Ch. 1 Continued
  • In chapter 1, Mark Twain describes Sid as“a quiet boy [with] no adventurous, troublesome ways.”
  • He further characterizes Tom as “not the Model Boy of the village. He [Tom] knew the model boy very well though– and loathed him.”
  • Work with your partner to write down some of your thoughts about Sid’s quietude and obedience.
    • How desirable are these qualities when evaluated against his treatment of Tom?
    • Does Tom emerge as the better person, although not the “model boy”?
ch 1 continued2
Ch. 1, Continued
  • Tom is frustrated with Sid. This frustration leads him to pick a fight with the new boy in town.
  • What is there about the new boy’s appearance that reminds him of Sid?
  • Assume the identity of Tom. Your homework tonight is to write a letter from Tom to Aunt Polly, explaining why you challenged the new boy to a fight. Be sure to explain what it is that you don’t like about the new boy.
    • Letter format.
    • 8-10 sentences in the body paragraph.
chapter 2 discussion and activities
Chapter 2 Discussion and Activities
  • In the whitewash scene, Tom never seems to be at a loss. He also displays a mature awareness of what motivates people. As a result, he’s able to avoid a tedious chore, push his responsibility on to others, convert a problem to a solution, and spend an idle afternoon amid the chaos of activity around him.
  • Mark Twain suggests that this adventure contributes to Tom’s growth and maturity: “…it was not such a hollow world after all. He had discovered a great law of human action… in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make that thing difficult to attain”
ch 2 continued
Ch. 2 Continued
  • Complete Handout 3 on a personal goal or dream. Be prepared to share this with the class tomorrow.
chapter 3 discussion and activities
Chapter 3 Discussion and Activities
  • Despite is growing maturity in chapter 2, Tom remains “all boy.” Young love can do this to a person. When he first spies Becky Thatcher, Tom begins to show off in typical adolescent fashion, hoping to charm her beyond repair. Actually, he’s thunderstruck with infatuation.
  • Complete Part A of Handout 4 with your partner. Part B will be homework. Your paragraph should be 5-7 sentences.
chapter 3 continued
Chapter 3, Continued
  • Tom begins having a pity party toward the end of chapter 3, in which he envisions Aunt Polly’s distress at his imaginary death. His pity party is abruptly ended when Tom is drenched by water thrown out the window by a servant.
    • Why does Twain reduce Tom’s plight to slapstick humor?
    • Is he making light of Tom’s predicament or is he merely trying to get Tom back on track?
    • What is Twain’s attitude toward love-struck fools.
    • How does Tom react to his unscheduled “bath”?
chapters 4 5
Chapters 4-5
  • Up to this point, what is your opinion of Tom and his character?
    • With your partner, list at least three of his character traits in your notebooks. Discuss evidence from the novel to support each trait and be prepared to share.
  • On Handout 5, you and your group are going to discuss character traits of some of the other characters of St. Petersburg. You will be supporting each trait with at least one incident from the text.
chapter 6
Chapter 6
  • What accounts for the growing relationship between Tom and Huck?
  • How does Mark Twain seem to feel about superstitions? How can you tell?
  • Chart the actions of Tom and Huck in your notebook. By the end of the book, be able to explain why Tom and Huck prosper, while Sid and Willie (the model boy) haven’t grown up or matured.
chapter 7
Chapter 7
  • Tom spends a blissful hour in the seat next to Becky Thatcher. They flirt, and then he proceeds to court her “by the book.”
    • What “book”?
    • Why is ritual important to Tom?
    • How serious is Mark Twain in describing this courtship ritual?
chapters 4 7 review
Chapters 4-7 Review
  • Most of the young people in the book have to deal with society’s perception of what makes a child good or bad.
  • In your notebook, write down the names of the following characters. Next to each name, write down one of the character’s actions that the community would consider good or bad.
chapters 4 7 review1
Chapters 4-7 Review
  • Describe the community in which all of these characters live?
  • Is it appealing to you? Why or why not?
  • How does Tom’s relationship with the Hannibal Gang differ from his relationship with the adults he encounters? How do you account for the difference?