Gender Roles In The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer

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The Establishment of Gender Norms in The Adventure of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic work of children’s literature that has proved its immense staying power. Generations of children grew up reading the entertaining stories of Tom, Huck, and Becky. But as in the case for most works of children’s literature, there is more hidden in the novel than simply entertaining tales of boyhood adventure. Children’s literature gives young children a chance to experience situations that they otherwise might not encounter in real life, and can teach them the skills necessary to handle these situations by allowing them to live vicariously through the characters in the novel. Within the novel, Twain presents the reader with many different character archetypes, such as the demure Becky and the rambunctious Tom, Through these characters, Twain is able to teach the young readers a lesson about how to behave, by rewarding characters for certain behavior. Out of these diverse characters, perhaps one of the most interesting is Sid. Despite being described as a model boy, Sid is not rewarded as such in the novel. Instead, it is his more mischievous brother, Tom, who earns glory and riches. From the text, it is seen that it is Tom’s adventurousness and boldness, traditionally masculine traits, which earn him his fortune, while Sid is relegated to the background. Based on this comparison, I argue that Twain uses the novel to encourage boys to follow traditionally masculine
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