Binary: Calm vs Aggressive

Aunt Polly’s attitude shifts toward how she addresses Tom. She doesn’t see sure of how to punish him. It almost seems like she feels burdened because that’s her sister, who passed son.

“Well. I know it’s jam — that’s what it is. Forty times I’ve said if you didn’t let that jam alone I’d skin you. Hand me that switch.”

“He’s full of old scratch, but laws-a-me! he’s my own dead sisters boy, poor thing and I ain’t got the heart to lash him somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks.”

She’s struggling with the idea of disciplining Tom although she knows she needs to. Her initial tone was aggressive. But then, she’s calm and trying to rationalize.


Twain, Mark. “Tom Plays, Fights and Hides.” The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. N.p.: n.p., 1876. N. pag. Web. <>.