Moral and Social Maturation
When the novel opens, Tom is involved in and often the leader of childhood
pranks and make-believe games. As the novel progresses, these consequence-free childish games take on more and more problems for him and the friends around him. Tom leads himself, Joe Harper, Huck, and, Becky Thatcher into increasingly dangerous situations. He also finds himself in situations where he must think about other peoples well being than his own. For example, when he takes Becky’s punishment and when he testifies at Injun Joe’s trial. As Tom begins to take initiative to help others instead of himself, he shows his increasing maturity, competence, and moral integrity.