Pleasure-Pain Principle

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn vs. Model Boys
– bad/devil vs. good/angel

Our protagonist affects few sympathies considering the contradictions he embodies as a character. Tom Sawyer is a fundamentally oppositional figure: manipulative, deceptive but also weird. “”Do you love rats?” “No! I hate them!” “Well, I do, too—live ones. But I mean dead ones, to swing round your head with a string.”” (Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Young Tom is an early masochist who refuses to sever his active and voluntary tie to deviance.

Diametrically different is the group he’s termed the Model Boys. Unlike Tom, the Model Boys enjoy church and also distinguishable by their cleanliness, manners and discipline. However, there is an even more extreme manifestation of anti-Model Boy culture in Huckleberry Finn. Still, the text acknowledges that compared to their parents, the other children (most likely including Sid and Willie: the most exemplar of Model Boys) rather feel repulsed towards the company and comportment of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn instead explicitly covet it.

Yet, unlike Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer has secured a faithful and demanding guidance in Aunt Polly. Although she admits “but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and I’ve got to do some of my duty by him, or I’ll be the ruination of the child.” (Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) A combination of his boredom and spoiled upbringing have contributed to his destructive tendencies while Huckleberry Finn’s unruly nature is a direct result of his father’s alcoholism.



1.) Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Irving: Saddleback

Educational, 1999. Print.