The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived. Tom Sawyer lived with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother, Sid. Tom dirties his clothes in a fight and is made to whitewash the fence the next day, as a punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work. He trades the treasures for Sunday School tickets which one normally receives for memorizing scriptures, redeeming them for a bible, much to the surprise and bewilderment of the superintendent who thought "it was simply preposterous that this boy had warehoused two thousand sheaves of Scriptural wisdom on his premises—a dozen would strain his capacity, without a doubt."
Tom falls in love with Becky Thatcher, a new girl in town, and persuades her to get "engaged" by kissing him. But their romance collapses when she learns Tom has been "engaged" previously, to a girl named Amy Lawrence. Shortly after being shunned by Becky, Tom accompanies Huckleberry Finn to the graveyard at night, where they witness the murder of Dr. Robinson.
Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper run away to an island. While enjoying their new-found freedom, the boys become aware that the community is sounding the river for their bodies. Tom sneaks back home one night to observe the commotion. After a brief moment of remorse at his loved ones' suffering, Tom is struck by the idea of appearing at his own funeral.