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Freedom Resulting from Social Exclusion in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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This paper tells that social exclusion has for long, remained a matter of big concern. In the novel “ Tom Sawyer” by “ Mark Twain” , the author narrates the freedom that social exclusion endows an individual with. The town St. Petersburg presented in the novel accommodates a social community whose members are strongly related to one another. The town has little to no room for outsiders. People are largely xenophobic. In such communities, outsiders conventionally face a lot of difficulty in gaining the same status, social recognition, and acceptance as that enjoyed by the indigenous people.

It takes foreigners years and sometimes, a whole lifetime to psychologically convince the local people to accept their entrance in the town. There may be many reasons for that. The indigenous people have developed certain norms, values, social customs and beliefs over the course of time that the outsiders are usually unfamiliar with. “ Social norms are social standards of behavior: they describe what is expected in given situations and prescribe what one ought to do” . Such social beliefs and trends may either be led by the religions, or the intrinsic traits of the location a community resides in.

Foreigners are suppressed in such societies not because they come to the land with negative intentions or they have attitude and behavioral traits inconsistent with those of the indigenous people. Instead, indigenous people tend to repel external forces and members because of their own insecurities. The most acknowledged of all the outsiders in the town is Huck Finn, who was repelled by the society to the extent that he was left to live on the town’ s outskirts.

Owing to the strong social exclusion that he was offered by the people of St. Petersburg, poor Huck had no option but to arrange his food himself. Huck was also denied any place to live. He could not live with his father either as his father was always occupied with drunkenness and could not provide his son with any comforts of life. A careful analysis of the story reveals that a vast majority of the individuals that were banished by the local community of St. Petersburg were addicted to drinking.

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