The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

How does Twain depict religion?

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Though Mary is described in a revered fashion, the Church is completely satirized. Twain's first blow to the Church comes when Tom is able to underhandedly trade for enough tickets to earn a Dore Bible, showing how even the Church could not make the distinction between hard work and bought favors. Twain also seems to laugh at the Church in his portrayal of the Sunday school teachers and Mr. Walters, the superintendent. Although he mentions that Mr. Walters was "very sincere and honest at heart," Twain compares him at the pulpit to a "singer who stands forward on the platform and sings a solo at a concert." This metaphor depicts the religious authority to be somewhat of a show person rather than a member of the clergy. His lectures on religion are likened to a concert: meaningless and purely for entertainment. Similarly, Twain's physical portrayal of Mr. Walter's lacks seriousness, using similes that compare his collar to a bank check and his shoes to sleds. But perhaps the most ironic of moments comes when Twain uses the words "showing off" in description of Mr. Walters and who attended the Sunday school. How humorous that the same words Twain uses to describe the immature Tom Sawyer and all the misbehaved Sunday school children apply to the adults as well!


Tom Sawyer does NOT earn a "Doré Bible." The Doré Bible is a priceless, extremely elaborate edition of the Holy Bible. Twain mentions it, but only in comparison with "a very plainly bound Bible" that constitutes the prize Tom wins.