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19th Century Literature: McElyea Project

With a focus on Tom Sawyer, this guide will take students through 19th century resources.


Sway Presentation


For the novel you have been reading, you will be creating a Sway presentation with multiple layers that showcase your understanding of the novel, its themes, historical context, and character development.

Your presentation must include the following content:



Choose one of the following topics to research:

19th century pirating

19th century Mississippi River piloting

19th century grave robbing   

  1. Explain what it is.
  2. How did 19th century people feel about it?
  3. Any famous cases
  4. Interesting information you feel we would like to know



Choose one social criticism Mark Twain is making through his novel.  Identify it, at least 3 instances in the novel where it appears, explain how Twain feels about it, and explain how you feel about the criticism (do you agree or disagree with Twain and why) *You can use the Coggle for ideas. 


Application of Criticism Today

Do you think Twain’s criticism applies today? If no, explain how the problem was fixed and provide historical evidence to support it.  If yes, explain how the problem still persists today and provide historical evidence to support it. 


Character Study

Choose one character to analyze in addition to Tom Sawyer.  (Aunt Polly, Sid, Huck, etc.)

  1. What are the character’s motivations for his/her actions?
  2. How do the character’s actions affect those around him?
  3. How do the character’s motivations and actions affect the plot of the story?
  4. How do those around him describe/ feel about the character?
  5. How has the character changed through the course of the novel?
  6. What lesson can the reader learn from the character?



Would you recommend this novel to a friend? Explain why or why not.  (Because it is boring does not count as a reason.)



Where in the novel does Twain use humor and to what purpose?

What type of humor does he use?


Where is he now?

Explain what you think will become of Tom Sawyer when he is older. 


Sway Tutorial