Annual fence-painting contests take place in Hannibal, Missouri.
Each year, the Hannibal Jaycees sponsor National Tom Sawyer Days during the Fourth of July weekend to celebrate the town's most well-known citizen, Mark Twain. The highlight of the event is the fence-painting contest, which begins on July 4 with local competition and advances to state and national contests over the next three days.
Mark Twain uses great detail to capture the locations of his tales. Readers feel as if they have actually traveled with Twain to the settings of his stories and novels. Choose a particular scene in one of Twain's works and do a close examination of the setting. First, have students map the story setting, using the interactive Story Map. Then discuss the setting using these prompts:
- How does Twain use extended description, background information, and specific detail to make the setting come alive for readers?
- How do the main characters fit into the setting-do they seem at home or out of place?
- How do their reactions and interactions with the setting affect the realism of the location?
Discuss the techniques that Twain uses to make the settings in his stories vivid and real to the readers and the extent to which these techniques are effective.
Visit this PBS site to learn about Twain through his writing and view his scrapbook.
Visit Hannibal, Missouri, where Sam Clemens and other children who influenced characters in Tom Sawyer grew up.
Visit this archive, produced by the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia, to find pictures, transcriptions, and analysis of Twain's writing, and information about the marketing of his books.