The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Literary Analysis

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Within Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer novel, Injun Joe comes out as a vindictive character; most of Joe’s actions are motivated by his desire to take revenge. For instance, citing some mistreatment he went through in the hands of the deceased Mr. Douglas, Joe attempts to attack Mrs. Douglas. Moreover, Joe kills Dr. Robinson because, sometime ago, Dr. Robinson’s father sent Joe to prison. This essay highlights Joe’s vindictiveness within The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by analyzing the following behaviors: Joe attempts to attack Mrs. Douglas based on the fact that, sometime back, Joe experienced mistreatment in the hands of Mr. Douglas; and Joe murders Dr. Robinson because, sometime ago, Dr. Robinson’s father sent Joe to prison.

Given that Joe tries to attack Mrs. Douglas based on the fact that, sometime back, Joe experienced mistreatment in the hands of Mr. Douglas, Joe illustrates his vindictive personality. On this note, it is important to note that, while in his usual wandering ways, Joe happens to pass by Mrs. Douglas’ house. At this point, Joe halts his walking and observes that, to take revenge against Mrs. Douglas, he could attack the owner of this house. To rationalize his motive, Joe explains that, a while ago, Mr. Douglas mistreated him. In his capacity as the Justice Of The Peace, Mr. Douglas ordered for Joe to be flogged. This punishment was meant to discourage Joe from being a vagrant. Based on this negative experience, Joe insists that he was mistreated by Mr. Douglas. Insisting on the need to take revenge, Joe asks his companion to help in executing this revenge mission (Twain, n.d.). While reviewing this scenario, a reader would reasonably hold that Joe has a vindictive personality. Thanks to this vindictiveness, Joe retains the memory about being flogged by Mr. Douglas. Consequently, years later, when an opportune moment presents itself, Joe readily takes advantage of the situation and seeks to punish Mrs. Douglas for Mr. Douglas’ ‘error’. The word ‘error’ is in quotes because a reader learns about the mistreatment that Mr. Douglas’ inflicted on Joe solely from Joe’s perspective. It is thus likely that Mr. Douglas did not engage in any wrong behavior. It is highly possible that Joe employs his subjective thoughts to declare Mr. Douglas an evil individual. Such subjectivity motivates Joe to desire to take revenge against Mrs. Douglas. Joe’s desire highlights his vindictive personality. If he were not vindictive, Joe would not plan on taking revenge against Mrs. Douglas.

Further, to illustrate his vindictive personality, Joe murders Dr. Robinson because, sometime ago, Dr. Robinson’s father sent Joe to prison. In this regard, while in the company of Muff Potter, Joe attempts to extort money from Dr. Robinson. After Dr. Robinson knocks and makes Potter unconscious, Joe grabs Potter’s knife and stabs Dr. Robinson in the back. While executing this cold blood murder, Joe states that, sometime ago, Dr. Robinson’s father sent Joe to prison for being a vagrant. By killing Dr. Robinson, Joe thereby takes revenge against the doctor for the father’s mistake (Ibid.). While analyzing this situation, a reader would discern that Joe is vindictive. Such vindictiveness causes Joe to retain the memory of having been sent to prison by Dr. Robinson’s father. When a suitable opportunity presents itself, Joe murders Dr. Robinson. It is instructive to note that, if the situation were different, Joe would not murder Dr. Robinson. This is because, if Potter did not become unconscious, Joe would not access Potter’s knife. From this analysis, it is clear that Joe is a vindictive character. If he were not vindictive, Joe would not murder Dr. Robinson on account of the mistake of Dr. Robinson’s father.

In conclusion, within The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Joe illustrates vindictiveness. On this note, Joe attempts to attack Mrs. Douglas based on the fact that, sometime back, Joe experienced mistreatment in the hands of Mr. Douglas. Further, Joe murders Dr. Robinson because, sometime ago, Dr. Robinson’s father sent Joe to prison. It is would be insightful to investigate what prompted Twain to depict Joe as a vindictive character.

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