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Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, University of Tubingen (Seminar fur Englische Philologie), course: Youth Fiction - Coming of Age in a Turbulent Culture, language: English, abstract: This paper accompanies the bad boy Tom Sawyer on his journey from boyhood to manhood, regarding the influence authority has on him as the most important factor for his maturation. Samuel Clemens wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer "mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls" but also "to try pleasantly to remind adults of what they once were them-selves" (Preface). What is the difference between children and adults? - Above all, their degree of maturity. But what is essential for the transition from child to adult, for the maturation? - Essential is to form an own individuality; to be something unique you have to distinguish from everything else. Therefore, we have to leave our own marks in order to become individuals. Every child has to find this "unique own" in adolescence. Not only bad boys need to revolt against and differentiate from authority to become part of the adult world and to constitute their individuality. But what exactly is this 'authority', which seems so essential for maturation - and, therefore, for the purpose of this work? In the broadest sense authority is a representative of the adult world with all its rules, conventions and institutions, which Clemens so harshly and ironically criticizes. For the purpose of this paper, authority means specifically every form of influence the adult world has on Tom as well as every convention which has the ability to govern his actions. Thus, it ranges from the school superintendant and Aunt Polly to bad boy behavior patterns and the temptations of evil. It does not take the reader long to find out that in the character of Tom Sawyer the force to defy authority is extraordinary strong. The first line in the book is a shouted "TOM " (I, 7) and of course the shout is not"