I will never forget the time I spent with Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Joe Harper on Jackson’s Island. We have always wanted to become pirates. Now that we have found the exact opportunity – Tom being scolded by Aunt Polly and Joe Harper having been whipped by his mother for tasting sour cream – we decided that it is now time to pursue our dream to become real pirates. In that way, we will be able to live a life of freedom and fame, and the whole town will hear about our names. The people who mistreated us will also feel sorry for what they had done.
Our rendezvous is Jackson’s Island, which is three miles below the town of St. Petersburg. We met there at midnight. That became the start of our lives as pirates of the sea. Personally, I loved the idea of running away from home. I never had to go to school anymore. I didn’t need to follow rules anymore. And as Tom promised often, all we will need to do is to steal, kill and get rich. So when midnight came, the four of us met at Jackson’s Island. Each of us came with something stolen. Tom brought stolen ham, Joe had a one sided bacon and Huck had a skillet and some tobacco leaves.
I brought stolen matches from my mom’s drawer. I figured that if we would stay long in the Island, we would need fire for our daily needs. Tom applauded me for bringing some matches. In those days, matches are not commonly used in St. Petersburg. Very few people had them. We found a raft about a hundred yards away. So we decided to have some fun with it and as usual, Tom was the captain. He commanded our pirate ship as we all pretended to be real pirates, using terms we have heard from sailors as well as lines from books we have read.
We decided to settle in a virgin forest about two hundred yards above the head of the island. There, we spread our belongings and also built a huge bonfire. We cooked our ham, bacon and corn pone by roasting them in the fire. We ate and ate until we were so full. There was nothing like it. If the other boys in the village saw us that way, they would greatly envy us without a doubt. There was nothing like a pirate’s life. After eating, we lay down on the grass and talked for a while. Tom started to tell us stories about pirates – how extravagant they are, and how rich and famous.
We started to ask him many questions about becoming a pirate. He simply told us that all we had to do was steal belongings and kill other people. In the midst of the conversation, Huck Finn began to smoke tobacco! I instantly followed him with that activity and smoked tobacco as well. Tom and Joe simply looked silently at us in amazement. For a long time now, they had wanted to learn how to smoke, but never had the opportunity. Only Huck and I could smoke. After much talking, we all fell asleep one by one. That was our first night as “pirates”. Tom was the first to wake up in the morning.
The first thing we did was to strip ourselves off our clothes and bathe in the sea. After that, we got ready for breakfast. Joe began to slice bacon and would have cooked it, but Tom and Huck asked him to wait. I was the one who caught a couple of sun perch and catfish! We instantly cooked those fishes along with the bacon and they tasted so good. Then after eating, we lay down on the sand for a long time. Sadness started to creep in, but nobody dared to speak about it. Nobody wants to be accused of being a chicken heart. I think Tom was starting to feel homesick too, but he didn’t want to show his feelings.
Our growing homesickness was interrupted when we saw a ferry boat afar off, shooting cannon over the water. This is a sign that somebody in the village got drowned. Shooting cannons over the water made drowned people come up to the top. For a while we wondered who got drowned, and then Tom suddenly had a brilliant thought. We are the ones who got drowned! The entire village was searching for us. Our parents missed us, and the other boys surely heard about us. The girls we admired are now talking about us too! We spent the rest of the entire day swimming, talking, eating and exploring the island.
When night came, everyone went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, Joe and Huck were still sleeping. Tom, however, was nowhere to be found. I looked at the spot where he slept and found a note. I opened the note and it read like this: “If I don’t come back by breakfast time, all my things are yours.. ” Upon reading this, I woke Joe and Huck and showed them the note. We waited for Tom for about an hour but he never came. Huck supposed that Tom felt homesick and went back to Aunt Polly’s house. However, Joe defended Tom and said that he knew his friend would never do such a disgrace.
Tom, according to Joe, knew the code of pirates and he is too proud to quit and go home just like that. I told Joe to start cooking breakfast and if Tom never returned by the time we ate breakfast, all his things will be ours. But just before we started to eat, Tom appeared dramatically and entered the camp. He had some news for us. He had “spied” on St. Petersburg and discovered that the whole town was talking about us – the lost pirates. If our bodies were not found until Saturday, our funeral will be pronounced that very Sunday. We instantly felt like heroes.
Then suddenly I had a brilliant idea. What if we could make a comeback on the day of our funeral? Tom and the other pirates liked it very much. Tom slept until noon and when afternoon came, we started to plan our appearance at our funeral on Sunday. That Sunday, while the entire town mourned for us and as the minister preached his eulogy for the “dead boys”, we were hiding in an unused gallery behind the church as we listened to everything that was happening. Suddenly, we made our appearance to the crowd. Needless to say, everybody welcomed us dramatically. Our loved ones cried with joy.
We were the talk of the town for several months and I will never ever forget it. It was the best day of our lives. Part 2: The Commentary The pirate boys led by Tom Sawyer built a community that they have entirely created amongst themselves. It is a community apart from the regular life they have known at St. Petersburg. We can safely say that Tom, Joe and Huck built their pirate community based on their childhood imagination. As young people in a simple town, where modern industrialized America has not yet fully penetrated, these three boys have an inclination towards idealism.
Their idea of a perfect life is total freedom. Thus, they chose to pretend as pirates and imitate the pirate’s code of conduct in order to experience the life that they have always dreamed about. To them, escaping to Jackson’s Island is more of an escape from reality. Although they have romantic idealisms as pirates in a free world, the reality remains that in the town of St. Petersburg, they are children and they are not as powerful as they suppose themselves to be. Tom Sawyer is just a kid who can get whipped by Aunt Polly any time of day. He is a student who needs to go to school and study his lessons.
He is part of society. So as we have stated, going to Jackson’s Island is an escape from reality. The boys thought that they can build a community on their own – apart from society, authority and responsibility. This thought is evident in Tom’s opening thoughts in Chapter 13: “Tom’s mind was made up now. He was gloomy and desperate. He was a forsaken, friendless boy, he said; nobody loved him; when they found out what they had driven him to, perhaps they would be sorry…Yes, they had forced him to it at last: he would lead a life of crime. There was no choice.
” (Twain, 1876). In the community that the boys built, each one played an important role. Tom was the leader because he was the one who provided the vision and insight about the life of a pirate. So in essence, he was providing direction for all of them. Almost everything they did during their getaway in the island was a product of Tom Sawyer’s imagination – based on what he read from books and his own thoughts and romantic dreams. Joe Harper, meanwhile was more of a follower. He also executes Tom’s orders. It is evident that Joe admired Tom for everything that he was.
Joe once said: “No, Tom’s true-blue, Huck, and he’ll come back. He won’t desert. He knows that would be a disgrace to a pirate, and Tom’s too proud for that sort of thing. He’s up to something or other. Now I wonder what? ” (Twain, 1876) Huck, meanwhile, is a symbol of the free life that Tom and Joe have always longed for. Huck didn’t need to go to school. He is a waif, a vagabond and he is not part of society. The other boys envied Huck because he can smoke tobacco while most boys in St. Petersburg – even Tom and Joe – cannot do that act.
Although Tom was the leader, we can say that Huck is the role model for the entire community they have built for themselves. If, for Tom and Joe, the island getaway was an escape from reality, it was a normal day for Huck. He was probably used to going to different places all by himself. The simple community of Huck Finn, Joe Harper and Tom Sawyer was similar to adult communities in that they have a single driving force – the desire to live a life of freedom. If we look at history, almost all communities started with that single driving force.
In any given community, there should be a leader, a follower and a symbol of inspiration. As these traits are respectively found in each of our characters, we may say that Tom, Huck and Joe are a perfect embodiment of American idealism. Although their deeds were shown in boyish manner, they represent a greater dimension which reflects the reality of adult life. As the saying goes, “Men are simply boys who grew up”. Works Cited: Twain, Mark (1993). The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer [electronic version]. New York: Project Gutenberg Ebooks. (Original work published 1876)