'The Adventure of Tom Sawyer' Quotes

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Clipart.com

The Adventure of Tom Sawyer is a novel by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). The book is a Bildungsroman, following the development of a young boy, as he experiences one adventure after another. Mark Twain's work is told in the third person, looking back with a sense of nostalgia. Here are a few quotes from The Adventure of Tom Sawyer.

  • "I ain't doing my duty by that boy, and that's the Lord's truth, goodness knows. Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I'm a-laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he's my own dead sister's boy, poor thing, and I ain't got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 1
  • "He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though--and loathed him."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch 1
  • "Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch 2
  • "He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it — namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch 2
  • "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ch 2
  • "Tom was a glittering hero once more-the pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 2
  • "Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 5
  • "The minister gave out his text and droned along monotonously through an argument that was so prosy that many a head by and by began to nod — and yet it was an argument that dealt in limitless fire and brimstone and thinned the predestined elect down to a company so small as to be hardly worth the saving."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 5
  • "Huckleberry was cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town because he was idle, and lawless, and vulgar, and bad - and because all their children admired him so, and delighted in his forbidden society, and wished they dared to be like him."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 6 
  • "You only just tell a boy you won't ever have anybody but him, ever ever ever, and then you kiss and that's all. Anybody can do it."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 7
  • "The elastic heart of youth cannot be compressed into one constrained shape long at a time."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 8
  • "They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood Forest than President of the United States forever."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 8
  • "Five years ago you drove me away from your father's kitchen one night, when I come to ask for something to eat, and you said I warn't there for any good; and when I swore I'd get even with you if it took a hundred years, your father had me jailed for a vagrant. Did you think I'd forget? The Injun blood ain't in me for nothing. And now I've got you, and you got to settle, you know!" 
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 9
  • "Oh, they just have a bully time - take ships, and burn them, and get the money and bury it in awful places in their island where there's ghosts and things to watch, it, and kill everybody in the ships - make 'em walk a plank. they don't kill the women - they're too noble. And the women's always beautiful, too."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 13
  • "There was no getting around the stubborn fact that taking sweetmeats was only "hooking," while taking bacon and hams and such valuables was plain simple stealing — and there was a command against that in the Bible. So they inwardly resolved that so long as they remained in the business, their piracies should not again be sullied with the crime of stealing." 
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 13
  • "Here was a gorgeous triumph; they were missed; they were mourned; hearts were breaking on their account; tears were being shed; accusing memories of unkindnesses to these poor lost lads were rising up, and unavailing regrets and remorse were being indulged: and best of all, the departed were the talk of the whole town, and the envy of all the boys, as far as this dazzling notoriety was concerned. This was fine. It was worth being a pirate, after all."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 14
  • "As the service proceeded, the clergyman drew such pictures of the graces, the winning ways, and the rare promise of the lost lads, that every soul there, thinking he recognized these pictures, felt a pang in remembering that he had persistently blinded himself to them always before, and had as persistently seen only faults and flaws in the poor boys."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 17
  • "What a hero Tom was become now! He did not go skipping and prancing, but moved with a dignified swagger, as became a pirate who felt that the public eye was on him. And indeed it was; he tried not to seem to see the looks or hear the remarks as he passed along, but they were food and drink to him."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 18
  • "I could forgive the boy, now, if he'd committed a million sins!"
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 19
  • "Huck Finn's wealth and the fact that he was now under the Widow Douglas's protection introduced him into society-no, dragged him into it, hurled him into it-and his sufferings were almost more than he could bear. The widow's servants kept him clean and neat, combed and brushed... He had to eat with knife and fork; he had to use napkin, cup, and plate; he had to learn his book, he had to go to church; he had to talk so properly that speech was become insipid in his mouth; whithersoever he turned, the bars and shackles of civilization shut him in and bound him hand and foot."
    - Mark Twain, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, Ch 35

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    Lombardi, Esther. "'The Adventure of Tom Sawyer' Quotes." ThoughtCo, Jun. 19, 2017, thoughtco.com/adventures-of-tom-sawyer-quotes-741698. Lombardi, Esther. (2017, June 19). 'The Adventure of Tom Sawyer' Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/adventures-of-tom-sawyer-quotes-741698 Lombardi, Esther. "'The Adventure of Tom Sawyer' Quotes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/adventures-of-tom-sawyer-quotes-741698 (accessed November 18, 2017).