The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Short Summary in English


Based on the tale of the physical, the moral and psychological transition of a young boy into a young man, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is regarded as one of the most popular American fictions in the 19th century.

Appealing to both young and adults alike, the novel revolves around the exciting and intriguing adventures of a young protagonist named Tom who develops from a naïve child to a mature individual as the story progresses.

A Mischievous Boy

The narrative begins with the tale of a mischievous boy Tom Sawyer residing with his aunt Polly and half-brother Sid in St. Petersburg. As a child, Tom leads a difficult life when he is forced to whitewash the fence on Saturdays.

Tired of his daily routine, Tom decides to trade small gifts from his friends as a prize for doing their daily tasks. However, he soon loses interest in this adventure when he incorrectly responds to a Biblical question; thus, losing his only chance to win the Holy Bible.

Change in Life

After getting disappointed in his adventure, Tom yearns for a change in his life. His wish comes true when he falls in love with a girl Becky Thatcher and asks for her hand.

However, their relationship does not continue for long on the pretext that Tom was once engaged to another girl. Leaving his relationship aside, Tom soon embarks upon a journey with a drunk named Huckleberry Finn to a graveyard to find a cure for his warts.

There, they both witness the murder of Dr Robinson by Injun Joe which makes them scared. Both Tom and Finn immediately decide to run away from the scene after making a blood pact of not discussing this murder with anyone.

Due to their silence, another drunk Muff Potter is wrongfully arrested for the crime. Feeling guilty, Tom, Huckleberry, and Joe Harper flee to an island to lead their lives as pirates.

Tom Returns to Home

Though enjoying their new-found freedom, Tom one day returns to his home where he is grieved to see the suffering of his poor family. He persuades his friends to return to their homes and serve their families instead of spending their time on a distant island.

In his hometown, Tom starts his life again but his guilt increases when Potter’s trial begins so he testifies against the real murderer Injun Joe.

The court acquits Potter but Joe runs away from the trial room. With the arrival of summer, Tom and Huckleberry go for the hunting of a treasure buried in a haunted house. In the house, they come across the murderer Joe who enters the house to bury his own treasure.

Joe Becomes Suspicious

The two friends become overjoyed to see another treasure but Joe becomes suspicious of their presence when he sees their digging tools lying around the haunted house.

Therefore, Joe decides to take away his gold instead of hiding it. Huckleberry stalks Joe in the hope of snatching his gold while Tom enjoys his life in picnic and parties with his friends.

While stalking Injun Joe, Huckleberry overhears his plan of attacking a widow Douglas which is stopped by Huck immediately.

Injun Dies

The murderer Injun Joe meets a cruel death when he is locked up inside the cave where Tom and Becky get lost during a picnic. The next week Tom takes Huckleberry to the cave where they find the gold hidden by Joe. The two friends split the gold and become rich.

The widow Douglas decides to adopt Huck while Tom plans to start his own rubber band. The narrative comes to its denouement when the two young friends, after years of being together, decide to part ways with a promise to join each other in their adventures and quests if they meet again in life.


Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is not only a tale of physical maturity and psychological development of the characters but also a story of everlasting friendship, thrilling adventures and exciting journeys undertaken by the characters to blossom into young adults from innocent beings; thus, making the fiction famous and widely acclaimed by the readers of all ages and times.

So endeth this chronicle. It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man.