The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a children's novel of thirty-five chapters by the American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens. who wrote under the pseudonym of Mark Twain. It was first published in 1876.
According to the author's preface, the action of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer takes place "thirty or forty years ago", that is to say in the 1830s or 1840s. The setting is the fictional village of St. Petersburg on the Mississippi River in the American West. The novel's title character and protagonist is a boy whose mother has died and who now lives in a household headed by his Aunt Polly, his late mother's sister. In many ways, Tom Sawyer is a typical boy. He is mischievous. He is self-centered. He dislikes school and does not pay attention in class. He dreams of becoming a pirate, a clown or an outlaw. Objects that adults would consider to be useless jimk appear to be great treasures to him. He hates washing and enjoys fighting. He does, however, also have exceptional leadership skills and he is good at manipulating others to get them to do what he wants. Tom Sawyer has many friends, both boys and girls. Notably, his friends include Becky Thatcher, the girl with whom he believes he is in love, and Huckleberry Finn. Huckleberry Finn is a homeless boy, the son of an alcoholic, and now absent, father. He is shunned by all of the adults in St. Petersburg who tell their children not to play with him. For that reason, Tom Sawyer takes great delight in playing with him. Above all else, Tom Sawyer wants to be noticed. He is happiest when other children perceive him as being extra special in some way. Tom Sawyer is twice given up for dead and enjoys the attention he receives when he turns up alive. Bu the end of the novel, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have earned the admiration and respect of everybody in St. Petersburg, children and adults alike. In common with other children of his age, Tom Sawyer is extremely superstitious. He firmly believes in ghosts, witches, ill omens and magic spells. It is Ton Sawyer's desire to help carry out a magical ritual to get rid of warts that leads him to accompany Huckleberry Finn to the village graveyard at midnight. While there, the two boys witness a botched grave robbery that ends in murder. The true murderer, a man known as Injun Joe, frames his accomplice in the attempted grave robbery, a man known as Muff Potter, for the killing. Muff Potter, who is unconscious when the murder takes place, genuinely believes himself to be guilty. Only Injun Joe, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn know the truth. The two boys know that Injun Joe would probably be hanged if he were found guilty of the crime. They are, however, also aware that there is a slight possibility of Injun Joe being found not guilty or somehow escaping the death penalty. If that were to happen, Injun Joe would want to take revenge on the two boys responsible for his being tried for murder and would not hesitate to kill them. For that reason, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn swear never to tell anybody the truth about the murder. When, however, it looks certain that Muff Potter will be hanged for a crime he did not commit, the two boys are forced to choose between their own safety and saving the life of an innocent man.
In his preface to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain states that many of the incidents in the novel are based on real events, some of which he participated in himself and others which he heard about secondhand. He also states that Huckleberry Finn is based on a real person and that Tom Sawyer is a composite character based on three different boys.
Mark Twain completed three sequels to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, namely Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896). Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also appear as characters in Twain's unfinished works Huck and Tom Among the Indians, Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy and Schoolhouse Hill. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is now widely considered to be the best of Twain's works and the reputation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has suffered somewhat as a result. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was, however, Twain's best selling work during his lifetime.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has been adapted to other media numerous times. There are at least twenty different film and television adaptations of the novel.
Readers should be aware that racially offensive language is used in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Parents should also be aware that Tom Sawyer constantly behaves in a manner that they are unlikely to want their children to imitate. During the course of the novel, he takes up smoking and shows an interest in swearing and drinking alcohol.
The novel opens in the home that Tom Sawyer shares with his half-brother Sid, his cousin Mary and his elderly Aunt Polly. Aunt Polly also has at least one slave, a boy of roughly the same age as Tom named Jim. It is a Friday afternoon and Tom Sawyer has returned home from school for lunch. Having misbehaved, as usual, Tom is hiding from his aunt. She spends some time looking for him, chastising herself for letting her nephew get away with his consistently bad behavior as she does so. She eventually finds him hidden in a closet and sees that his hands are covered in jam. She is about to punish her nephew by beating him. Tom, however, is able to distract the old woman long enough to escape from the house simply by shouting, "Look behind you!"
Tom returns home in the evening for supper. It has been a hot day and Aunt Polly suspects that her nephew played truant from school in order to go swimming. She tries to trick Tom into saying that he did so. Tom, however, is wise to the old woman's game and admits nothing. He is even able to explain away his wet hair by saying that he used some water from the pump to cool his head. As proof that he did not go swimming, Tom shows his aunt that the thread that she used when she repaired his shirt collar that morning is undisturbed, meaning that he cannot have taken off his shirt. Sid points out that Aunt Polly used white thread to repair Tom's collar and the thread there now is black. Realizing that he has been caught in a lie, Tom escapes from the house again.
On the streets of St. Petersburg, Tom meets a boy he has never seen before. The boy, whose name is later revealed to be Alfred Temple, has recently arrived from the city. He is wearing clothes of a kind that Tom and other boys in the village only wear on special occasions. Tom sees this as a sign of arrogance and takes an immediate dislike to the boy. The two trade insults with each other for a while before their quarrel turns physical. Tom wins the fight easily and then chases Alfred Temple all the way back to his house. When Tom eventually comes back home again and Aunt Polly sees that he has been fighting, she tells him that she will punish him by making him work the following day.
On the Saturday morning, Aunt Polly tells Tom that he is to whitewash the entire large fence that surrounds her property. Tom tries to get Jim to do the work for him by offering him a marble. Aunt Polly sees this and chases Jim away. Ben Rogers, another boy of Tom's age, passes by and expresses some sympathy for Tom for having to work. Tom, however, says that for a boy to be allowed to whitewash a fence is a great honor and that he is enjoying doing it very much. Ben is eager to try his hand at whitewashing the fence too. Tom agrees to let him but makes him pay for the privilege by handing over an apple. Several other boys pass by too. Tom is also able to persuade them that whitewashing a fence is both a prestigious and enjoyable activity that they can only take part in if they are willing to pay. They agree to pay Tom for the privilege of whitewashing some of the fence by offering him things that adults would see as worthless junk but which to them, and Tom, are great treasures. Thus, Tom learns that, "in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain." The entire fence is soon covered in three coats of whitewash. Aunt Polly is impressed with Tom's work and allows him to go and play.
Tom goes first to the village square where two large groups of younger boys are engaged in a mock battle. Tom and another boy named Joe Harper act as generals for the two opposing sides. In spite of commanding two opposing armies, Tom and Joe Harper are good friends. Tom's side wins. Tom later passes by the home of his friend Jeff Thatcher. He notices a pretty girl inside the house that he has never seen before. He immediately decides that she has replaced another girl named Amy Lawrence as his one true love. He spends a considerable amount of time trying to get the girl's attention by showing off outside the house. The girl eventually throws Tom a flower before he goes home for diner. At dinner, Aunt Polly wrongly blames Tom for breaking a sugar bowl that was broken by Sid. Tom decides that the best way he can take his revenge on his family for mistreating him is by leaving home and dying in the streets. He makes his way back to the Thatcher house and decides to stay beneath the girl's window until he dies. When a maid opens the window and empties a pitcher of water over him, however, Tom gives up on that plan and goes home to bed.
The following day, Tom goes to Sunday school. Before classes start, Tom trades all the "treasures" that the boys gave him to whitewash the fence for tickets. The tickets are given to children who are able to recite Bible verses off by heart. A child who has memorized two thousand verses can exchange their tickets for a Bible. It is presented to the child in front of the entire Sunday school class and receiving one is considered by all to be a great honor. There is an important guest at the Sunday school that day. He is the county judge who has come from the town of Constantinople twelve miles away and he is Jeff Thatcher's uncle. The man's daughter Becky, the pretty girl that Tom saw the previous day, is there also. All the people at the Sunday school that day, the children, the teachers and the superintendent, are keen to make a good impression on the judge. Tom does not miss the great opportunity to show off that he has been given. As a result of the trades he made earlier, he has enough tickets to get a Bible and he proudly announces that. Tom's teacher knows that, although he has somehow acquired the required number of tickets, the boy has definitely not memorized two thousand Bible verses. Since everyone wants to impress Judge Thatcher, however, Tom is presented with a Bible. Judge Thatcher congratulates Tom and, wanting to give the boy a chance to display his knowledge, asks him the names of the first two of the Twelve Disciples. Tom, who has no idea what the answer is, eventually blurts out, "David and Goliath."
After Sunday school comes church. Tom is bored during the sermon and takes a large beetle, known as a "pinchbug" from his pocket. When the insect pinches one of Tom's fingers, he drops it. A poodle wanders into the church. It sees the beetle on the ground and is fascinated by it. After the bug pinches the poodle, the dog sits on it. The beetle then pinches the dog again on its behind. The poodle runs around the church, howling in pain. All the people in the church stop paying any attention to the sermon and laugh at the dog instead. Eventually, the poodle's owner throws it out of a window. Tom leaves church happy because of the entertainment that he helped to provide.
On Monday morning, Tom tries in vain to persuade his aunt that he cannot go to school because he is sick. On his way to school, he sees the homeless boy Huckleberry Finn. Huck Finn's father was a notorious drunk who has now left the area, leaving the boy completely on his own. He wears the old clothes of adult men, rarely wears shoes and sleeps in empty barrels. All of the adults in St. Petersburg consider Huckleberry Finn to be a bad influence and tell their children never to play with him. All of the boys in St. Petersburg, however, including Tom, envy Huck's freedom and look up to him. Tom takes great delight in disobeying his aunt by playing with Huck Finn as often as he can.
Huck and Tom, like other children their age, both firmly believe in magic. Huck is carrying a dead cat that he plans to take to the graveyard that night to use in a magical ritual to get rid of warts. A man known as Horse or Hoss Williams has recently died and been buried. Huck believes that, since Hoss Williams was a wicked man, some devils will come to the graveyard at midnight that night to take him away. When the devils arrive, Huck plans to throw the dead cat at them and say, "Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat. I'm done with ye!" Tom finds this idea exciting and asks Huck if he can accompany him to the graveyard that evening. Huck agrees.
Tom arrives late for school. His teacher, Mr. Dobbins, asks him to give a reason for his tardiness. Tom sees Becky Thatcher has joined the class and that the seat next to her is empty. For that reason, Tom does not hesitate to say, "I stopped to talk with Huckleberry Finn!" As Tom knew he would, his teacher punishes him for associating with the local outcast by making him sit on the girls' side of the room, after beating him first. Tom sits next to Becky. He offers her a peach, which she turns down, before trying to get her attention by showing his skill at drawing pictures on his slate. The pictures make the desired impact on Becky. She asks Tom to draw more pictures and he is happy to oblige. The two children formally introduce themselves to each other. Becky agrees to spend some time with Tom during the lunch break. On his slate, Tom writes, "I love you." His teacher notices and punishes Tom again by making him sit on the boys' side of the classroom.
As she promised she would do, Becky meets up with Tom during lunch break. Tom persuades Becky to "get engaged" to him, telling her that hey simply need to say, "I love you", to each other and kiss. Becky agrees. Tom excitedly talks about how much he njoys being engaged. He accidentally reveals that he used to be engaged to Amy Lawrence. Becky is very upset when she hears this. She does not believe Tom when he says that he no longer loves Amy Lawrence and now loves only her. Tom tries to placate Becky by offering her a brass andiron knob. Becky will not accept it. Tom walks out of the school, determined not to return to it that day. Tom spends the rest of the afternoon in the forest. He performs a magical ritual that is supposed to return to him all the marbles that he ever lost. He is amazed when the spell does not work. He eventually meets up with Joe Harper and the two boys play at Robin Hood together.
As planned, Tom sneaks out of the house that night and meets up with Huckleberry Finn to carry out the magical spell to get rid of warts. The two boys go to the village graveyard together. It is a graveyard typical of those found in the American West at that time. It is located on a hill a mile and a half from St. Petersburg and all its graves have wooden headboards instead of tombstones. Tom and Huck hide behind some trees near to Hoss Williams' grave and wait for the devils to arrive. Three individuals arrive that the boys initially take to be devils. They soon realize that they are in fact men. The boys recognize them as the respectable young village physician Dr. Robinson, the drunk known as Muff Potter and the half Native American criminal known as Injun Joe. Huck and Tom continue to watch the three men in secret. Dr. Robinson orders the other two men to dig up Hoss Williams' corpse. The two men dig up the body but Injun Joe then insists that they get extra payment before helping to take the corpse away. Dr. Robinson refuses. Injun Joe gets angry. He talks about an incident when he went to Dr. Robinson's kitchen five years earlier and begged for food. Not only was he refused food, he was subsequently arrested for vagrancy. He declares that he now wants revenge. A fight ensues. Dr. Robinson initially has the upper hand and is able to knock Muff Potter unconscious with Hoss Williams' wooden headboard. Injun Joe is, however, able to stab Dr. Robinson to death with Muff Potter's knife. Before Muff Potter regains consciousness, the terrified Tom and Huck are able to get away unnoticed and hide in an abandoned building.
When Muff Potter comes to, Injun Joe tells him that he was the one who killed Dr. Robinson in a drunken frenzy. Potter believes him. Injun Joe promises that he will not tell anyone about the murder, although he is pleased to see that Potter's knife is still in Dr. Robinson's body.
Unaware of Injun Joe's plan to frame Muff Potter for the crime, Tom and Huck discuss what would happen if they reported it. They agree that Injun Joe would probably be hanged for murder. They acknowledge, however, that there is a chance that he could escape the death penalty. If that were to happen, Injun Joe would want to take revenge on the two boys who almost had him sentenced to death. He would hunt them down and kill them. For that reason, Tom writes a note stating that they both solemnly swear never to tell anyone about what they have seen that night. They sign it in their own blood. The two boys then hear a dog howling, which they believe to be an omen of death for whoever the dog is howling at. They think at first that it means the death of one of them. When they step outside, however, they see that the dog is not facing them. It is facing Muff Potter.
Sid is still awake when Tom returns home. The following morning, he tells Aunt Polly about Tom's returning to the house late at night. Aunt Polly scolds Tom and asks him how he can continue to break her heart with his bad behavior. Aunt Polly's genuine sadness hurts Tom more than any beating. Tom's suffering increases when he arrives at school and finds something wrapped in paper on his desk, It is the brass andiron knob that he gave to Becky that she has now returned to him as a sign that their relationship is over.
By midday, everyone in St. Petersburg is aware that there has been a murder. All of the villagers, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, make their way to the graveyard. Muff Potter himself goes to the graveyard to plead his innocence in front of the gathered villagers. Much to the surprise of Tom, Huck and especially Muff, however, Injun Joe tells everyone that it was Muff who committed the crime. The sheriff arrests Muff Potter for murder.
For allowing an innocent man to be arrested for crime that he knows he did not commit, Tom begins to feel intense guilt and has trouble sleeping at night as a result. To try to ease his conscience a little, Tom regularly leaves small gifts for Muff Potter at the window of his jail cell.
Tom's unhappiness worsens when Becky Thatcher is absent from school because of illness. Aunt Polly begins to worry about her nephew's health. She starts giving him a variety of recently invented medications, all of which are completely ineffective. The last one that she tells him to take is a medicine called "Pain-killer", which Tom hates taking because it tastes awful. One morning, Aunt Polly's cat Peter appears to take an interest in the medicine. After first giving the cat what he considers to be a fair warning that he may not like the medicine, Tom gives his dose to Peter. That causes the animal to become hyperactive and to tear around the living room, causing lots of damage. When Aunt Polly realizes what Tom has done, she concludes that what could be cruelty to a cat could also be cruelty to a boy. She sends Tom to school without punishing him. At school, Tom is happy to see that Becky Thatcher has returned, although she ignores him completely.
Concluding that the only way out of the unhappy situation in which he finds himself is to run away from home, Tom decides to become a pirate. He meets up with Joe Harper, who is feeling similarly unhappy because his mother has just wrongly accused him of stealing some cream. The two boys are also able to persuade Huckleberry Finn to join them because he is always up for any adventure. That night, the three boys make their way to Jackson's Island, a small uninhabited island in the river three miles away from St. Petersburg. They use a raft to get to the island, calling out meaningless nautical-sounding commands to each other as they travel there. They arrive at about two o'clock in the morning, make a fire, eat some bacon that Joe stole for them and discuss what they will do when they become pirates. They start feeling guilty about having eaten stolen bacon since stealing is expressly forbidden by the Bible. They decide that when they become pirates they will never steal.
When the boys wake up the following morning, they find that their raft has gone. This does not bother them, however, as they are glad that their last tie to their old lives has been cut. Huckleberry Finn finds a spring that can provide them with fresh water. The boys go fishing and catch a large quantity of fish that they eat for breakfast. After breakfast, Joe Harper and Tom explore the island. Their new life as pirates appears to be perfect. By the afternoon, however, the boys have started to run out of things to talk about and begin to feel homesick. They notice boats on the river. One of them is firing a cannon to make the corpses of drowned people rise to the surface. Tom realizes that he, Joe and Huck are the drowned people being searched for by those on the boats. The fact that a search for them is going on makes the three boys feel very important. Later, however, both Tom and Joe begin to worry about the people back in St. Petersburg who are missing them. Joe tentatively suggests the idea of going home, an idea flatly rejected by both Tom and Huck.
Tom is, however, curious to see how the people of St. Petersburg have reacted to their absence. When Joe and Huck are asleep, Tom sneaks away, leaving a note he has written in Joe's hat and putting another note in his pocket before he does so. He swims part of the way back and travels part of the way by stowing away on a ferry. Tom makes his way back to St. Petersburg and back to his Aunt Polly's house where he hides under a bed. Joe Harper's mother is there. She, Aunt Polly and Mary all talk about how much they miss the boys and how they wish they had treated them with more kindness. Only Sid is unmoved by Tom's disappearance. Tom learns that the raft he and the other boys used has been found and it is assumed that they fell off it and drowned. A funeral service is to be held for them at the church the following Sunday, After Mrs. Harper leaves and everyone hoes to bed, Tom goes up to Aunt Polly's bedroom. He thinks about leaving the note he has written on her bedside table but decides against it. He does, however, give his sleeping Aunt Polly a kiss. He leaves and makes his way back to the island and tells the other two boys something of his adventure.
The following day, the boys have fun finding turtle's eggs to eggs to eat, swimming and playing at being clowns. They all begin to feel homesick again, however, as displayed by Tom writing the word "Becky" in the sand with his toes. Joe again suggests going home. This time, Huck agrees with him. Tom, however, tells the other two boys about a plan that he has. It is later revealed that the plan is for the boys to return to St. Petersburg in time for their own funeral service the following Sunday. They are to hide in the church and then reveal that they are still alive during the service. Joe and Huck both agree to the plan and agree to stay on the island a little longer.
Tom and Joe ask Huck if he will teach them to smoke, certain that the other children will be impressed when they casually smoke after they return home. Huck agrees and gives them pipes that he has made out of corn cobs. Tom and Joe soon find that smoking makes them feel sick. They both leave, on the pretense of looking for Joe's lost knife. Huck finds them later, both sleeping in separate parts of the wood. It is implied that they vomited before collapsing. Later that evening, Huck asks his two friends if they would like to smoke again. They both decline, claiming they feel ill because of something they ate.
A terrible thunderstorm hits the island that night. The three boys take refuge in a tent. When wind blows the tent away, they spend the rest of the night standing under a large oak. When the storm finally passes, they return to the spot where their tent was and see that, if they had been able to stay in the tent, they could have been crushed by a falling tree.
The boys are able to restart their fire, cook some ham for breakfast and fight off their homesickness by playing at being Indians. They have a mock fight between the three of them. When they start to feel hungry, it occurs to them that, as fighting Indians, they will have to smoke a peace pipe before they can eat together. Tom and Joe reluctantly smoke pipes again. This time, however, smoking does not make them feel very sick. They continue to smoke after they return to home to St. Petersburg.
In St. Petersburg, everyone is mourning the loss of the three boys. All of the children are certain they felt terrible premonitions the last time they saw them alive. Becky Thatcher regrets having treated Tom so coldly. On Sunday morning, a funeral service is held at the church for the three boys. The minister speaks about the boys in glowing terms. All the people present wonder how they could have failed to see the good in them and break down in tears. At that point, the three boys emerge from hiding. The congregation is overcome with joy. Joe and Tom are embraced by their families. Tom complains that it is not fair that there is nobody to embrace Huck. Aunt Polly then embraces him too, much to his displeasure.
Aunt Polly rebukes Tom for not letting her know that he was still alive earlier. Tom thinks that would have ruined the adventure. To cheer up his aunt, however, he tells her about what he claims was a dream he had. He is really gibing her an account of everything he saw, heard and did on the night he secretly came home. Due to how accurately everything Tom says matches what really happened, Aunt Polly is truly amazed. For the same reason, Sid is somewhat suspicious.
When he returns to school, Tom is hailed as a hero and he revels in that glory. He decides to take his revenge on Becky Thatcher by ignoring her and being especially friendly towards Amy Lawrence. Becky notices this and decides to take her own revenge on Tom. Making sure that Tom can hear, she announces that she id going to have a picnic. She invites everyone to attend it, apart from Tom and Amy Lawrence. To further make Tom jealous, at lunchtime, Becky agrees to look at a picture book with Alfred Temple, the boy with whom Tom had a fight at the start of the novel. When Tom grows tired of Amy and goes home for lunch, Becky lets Alfred know she is no longer interested in him. Realizing that Becky was only using him to make Tom jealous, Alfred decides to get Tom into trouble. He spills ink over Tom's spelling book, knowing that the teacher will beat him for it later. Becky sees Alfred do this. She considers telling Tom but decides not to because of how coldly he has treated her.
Aunt Polly is not happy with Tom when he returns home for lunch. Joe Harper has told his mother about how Tom secretly came home one night. She has told Aunt Polly, who realizes that Tom was lying when he told her about the dream he supposedly had. Tom admits that, although he points out that he really kissed Aunt Polly as he said he did in his dream. He also says that he was going to leave a note fro Aunt Polly, decided that it would ruin the surprise and put it back in his jacket pocket. When Tom goes back to school, Aunt Polly looks in Tom's jacket pocket. To her surprise and delight, she finds the note that Tom said he wrote. In tears, Aunt Polly says to herself, "I could forgive the boy now if he had committed a million sins."
At school that afternoon, Tom tries to reconcile with Becky. She, however, continues to ignore him. In the empty classroom, Becky sees a key in the drawer of Mr. Dobbins the teacher. Opening the drawer, Becky finds a book. It is a book that the children have seen their teacher reading many times although none of them have any idea what kind of book it is. It is an anatomy text book that Mr. Dobbins studies because he is unhappy being a teacher and really wants to be a doctor. Becky is shocked to see a drawing of a naked figure on the book's first page. At that moment, Tom comes into the classroom. His sudden entrance startles Becky, causing her to rip the page. Becky cries, certain that Tom will tell the teacher what she did.
When Mr. Dobbins sees the ink spilled in Tom's spelling book, he beats the boy. Tom accepts the beating without complaint because he wrongly thinks he must have accidentally spilled the ink. When Mr, Dobbins later finds out that his secret book has been torn, he demands to know who did it. Becky is about to confess when Tom says that he tore the book. He takes another beating, turning himself into a hero for Becky in the process.
The school year draws to a close and the summer vacation approaches. Mr. Dobbins becomes increasingly harsh in his treatment of his students, causing them to plot their revenge on him. At the end of the semester, an event is organized at the schoolhouse that all of the people of St. Petersburg attend. Students recite poetry and terrible essays that they have written and there are to be spelling and geography competitions. Tom struggles to recite the speech "Give me liberty ot give me death", until his stage fright becomes too much for him and he gives up. Mr. Dobbins starts to draw a map of the United Sates on a blackboard for the geography competition. As he does so, a blindfolded cat is slowly lowered from the ceiling. The cat claws at the air. Its claws come into contact with and remove Mr. Dobbins' wig. It is revealed that the teacher is not only bald, his head had previously been painted while he was in a drunken stupor.
At the start of the vacation, Tom joins an organization called the Cadets of Temperance. His main reason for joining is that he likes the uniform. In order to continue being a member, however, Tom has to promise not to drink alcohol, smoke, chew tobacco or use bad language. Tom finds that being forbidden from doing those things only makes them seem more appealing to him. He decides to leave the Cadets of Temperance but only after the ailing justice of the peace dies and he has had the honor of wearing his sash at the man's funeral. The justice of the peace recovers and Tom quits the organization. Shortly afterwards, the man dies.
The summer starts to pass slowly for Tom. Becky Thatcher foes back to Constantinople to stay with her parents. Tom also still feels guilty about letting Muff Potter continue to await trial for a murder he did not commit. Several circuses, minstrel shows and parades come to St. Petersburg but they provide only fleeting entertainment for Tom.
Tom falls ill with the measles and has to stay in bed. When he recovers, he finds out that a very successful revival meeting has been held in St. Petersburg. All of the people of the village, adults and children, have suddenly become very religious. Even Huckleberry Finn is quoting the Bible. When there is a terrible thunderstorm at night, Tom sees it as a sign to mend his sinful ways. He has a relapse and has to stay in bed with the measles for another three weeks. When he recovers again, he finds that he is now the only religious boy in the village. Everyone else has lost interest in religion and gone back to being like they were before.
The day of Muff Potter's trial approaches. Both Tom and Huck continue to feel guilty, knowing that they could prevent an innocent man from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. At the same time, however, they are very much afraid that Injun Joe would kill them if he somehow escaped hanging after they told what they knew. For that reason, they decide to remain silent. To try to lessen their guilt, they often visit Muff Potter and bring him small gifts, such as tobacco and matches. Muff thanks them for their friendship, which only makes them feel worse.
At Muff Potter's trial, Injun Joe gives an account of how his friend stabbed Dr. Robinson. Potter's lawyer says he has no questions to ask him. Several other witnesses testify to Potter's strange behavior. His lawyer says that he has no questions to ask any of them. The lawyer then calls Tom Sawyer as a witness for the defense. Although he is very frightened, Tom gives a full account of everything he saw and heard on the night of the murder. When he reaches the point in his story in which he says that Injun Joe was the real murderer, Injun Joe suddenly gets up and escapes by jumping out of a window.
Once again, Tom is hailed as a hero. Not only the children, but also all of the adults in St. Petersburg consider him to be one. During the daytime, Tom basks in his glory. At night, however, he has terrible dreams about Injin Joe coming to kill him.-
Tom has a sudden desire to hunt for buried treasure. He enlists Huckleberry Finn to help him find it. They go to the nearest dead-limbed tree, since such trees often appear in tales of buried treasure, and start digging at its base. After a long and fruitless search, Tom announces that they have been going about it the wrong way. They should dig where the shadow of the dead limb falls at midnight. They resume their hunt for buried treasure at midnight that night. As well as feeling frustrated at not finding anything, they begin to feel frightened that there might be ghosts and witches about. Before giving up completely on their search however, it occurs to them that haunted houses are also popular places for hiding treasure. They agree to look in one the following day. While on their way to a haunted house the next day, the two superstitious boys remember that it is Friday, the unluckiest day of the week. They decide to play at Robin Hood instead and leave the hunt for buried treasure until Saturday.
On the Saturday, the two boys enter a deserted house that they believe to be haunted. Two men enter the house. Fortunately, Tom and Huck have gone to the upper floor of the house by this time and the two men remain on the ground floor. The boys are able to watch the men through gaps in the floorboards. They recognize one of them as a deaf and mute Spaniard who has often been seen around St. Petersburg in recent days. To their surprise, the deaf and mute Spaniard begins to speak. To their horror, his voice reveals that he is really Injun Joe. Injun Joe talks with his companion about a "dangerous job". he is planning. After a while, the two men fall asleep. Tom thinks it would be a good time to leave. Huck, however, insists they stay in case the men wake up. When the men do awake, they decide to bury some money they have stolen, $600 in silver, in the house. They use tools that Tom and Huck left on the ground floor. While burying their own treasure, they find an even greater treasure. It is an iron box full of gold coins that someone else had previously hidden there. Tom and Huck excitedly hope that Injun Joe will rebury the box. Injun Joe, however, then notices that the tools he has used are new and have fresh earth on them. He realizes that somebody could be nearby or possibly inside the house. He even starts to go upstairs, although he gives up when the old stairs collapse under his weight. Concluding that it would not be sage to leave the fold coins in the old house, he decides to take them to another hiding place, known as "Number Two - under the cross".
When the two men leave, taking the gold coins with them, Tom and Huck are angry with themselves for having left their tools downstairs. If those tools had not given their recent presence away, Inhun Joe would have reburied the gold coins and they could have taken them. They decide that they will have to look out for Injun Joe, disguised as the Spaniard, follow him to find out where his "Number Two" hiding place is and then take the treasure. Tom then says to Huck that the "dangerous job" that Injun Joe referred to might mean killing both of them. Huck points out that he is unlikely to be a target since only Tom testified against Injun Joe in court.
The following morning, Tom wakes up hoping that all of the events of the previous day had been nothing but a dream. When he meets up with Huckleberry Finn and Huck talks about those vents, however, Tom has to accept that they really happened. The two boys wonder where Injun Joe's "Number Two" hiding place might be. They think it might be room number two at an inn. Since there are only two inns in St. Petersburh, it is not very difficult to check on them. Tom finds out that room number two at the first inn is occupied by a lawyer. The second inn is a "temperance tavern" at which no alcohol is supposed to be served. The innkeeper's son tells Tom that the door to room number two is supposed to be kept locked at all times. He is, however, aware that people go into room number two at night and saw a light on inside it the previous evening. There is a backdoor to that room number two on the street. Tom and Huck decide to gather up as many keys as they can get their hands on in the hope that one of them will open that backdoor. They also decide to continue to keep a look out for Inhun Joe and follow him if they can, in case their idea about room number two at the tavern is wrong.
Tom and Huck go to the temperance tavern. Tom goes inside while Huck waits outside. A frightened Tom emerges and shouts at his friend to run. The two boys do not stop running until they reach the other end of St. Petersburg. Tom then explains that he found the door to room number two unlocked. He went inside and saw Injun Joe asleep on the floor surrounded by whiskey bottles. It is obvious that the door to room number two is meant to be kept locked at all times because that is where the secret supply of alcohol at the supposed temperance tavern is stored. It is agreed that Huck will watch room number two at the tavern every night. If he sees Injun Joe go out, he will then call on Tom, who will go in and get the box of gold coins.
Becky Thatcher and her parents return from Constantinople. Becky's long planned picnic, to which Tom is now invited, is to take place. The children are to take a ferry downriver to the forest and explore the caverns known as McDougal's cave. Beck's mother tells her that she can stay the night at the house of her friend Susy Harper, Joe Harper's sister, who lives near to the ferry terminal. Tom persuades her to instead go with him to the Widow Douglas' house, telling her that the kindly old lady will no doubt give them ice cream and will probably allow them to spend the night there. Tom is slightly worried that Injun Joe may leave his hideout that night and he may miss out on the action when he does, although he is much more keen on spending time with Becky.
Huckleberry Finn sees the ferry carrying the children back from Becky Thatcher's picnic arrive in St. Petersburg in the evening. He then sees two men, whom he correctly assumes to be Injun Joe and his accomplice, carrying a large box. Believing that they are escaping with the gold, Huck decides that he does not have enough time to fetch Tom and will have to follow them alone. He follows them to Widow Douglas' house, the intended scene of the "dangerous job" Injun Joe had been planning. Inhun Joe tells his companion that, although he intends to rob the house, his primary reason for going there is to take revenge. The widow's husband had been a justice of the peace who had Injun Joe horsewhipped for vagrancy. Injun Joe now plans to horribly disfigure the widow by cutting her face and ears. Injun Joe and his companion wait for all of the lights to go out in the Widow Douglas; house before making their move.
In search of help, Huck runs down the hill to the home of an old Welshman named Jones and his sons. Evans knows Huckleberry Finn by reputation and is somewhat wary of him. Nevertheless, he lets Huck into his house and the boy tells him and his sons about how the Widow Douglas is in great danger. They get their guns and head towards the widow's home. Huck follows them until he hears a sudden blast of gunfire, at which point he runs for his life.
The following morning, a Sunday, Huck returns to Jones' house. This time, the Welshman greets him harmly and tells him that he is always welcome there. Jones tells Huck that they fired on the deaf and mute Spaniard and his companion the night before but the two men got away. All of St. Petersburg is now looking for them. Jones asks Huck how he knew about the planned crime. He avoids mentioning the treasure but mentions having heard the Spaniard speak. He then has to admit that the deaf and mute Spaniard is really Injun Joe. Jones says that the two men left their box behind and it was full of burglar's tools. Huck is happy to hear this, assuming that it means that the treasure is still in the tavern.
At church, everyone talks excitedly about the events of the previous evening. Jones decides to keep the identity of the boy who helped him a secret for a little while longer. Mrs. Thatcher asks Mrs. Harper where Becky is. Mrs. Harper replies that Becky did not spend the night at her house. Aunt Polly asks them if they have seen Tom. It eventually becomes clear that the ferry came back to St. Petersburg without Tom or Becky on board it and that they must still be inside McDougal's cave. A search party is sent to the cave. They spend all day looking for the two lost children but find only one of Becky's ribbons and the words "TOM AND BECKY" written in candle smoke on a wall. Tom and Becky remain missing for several days.
At the same time, Huckleberry Finn falls ill with a fever. For several days, the Widow Douglas, who is still unaware of the part Huck played in protecting her, cares for him. Huck comes to one day and asks if anything has been found at the temperance tavern. The widow tells him that alcohol was found there and that it was closed down as a result. Huck assumes that the treasure is gone.
How Tom and Becky came to be lost on the day of the picnic is revealed. When they go into McDougal's cave, Tom and Becky leave the larger group and explore some passages on their own. They make marks on the walls with candle smoke to help them find their way back. They go into one cavern that is full of bats which attack them. Running away from the bats, Tom and Becky find themselves in an unknown part of the cave and very far from the other children. They cannot go back the same way they came because that passage is blocked by the bats. Tom tries to go a different way. This time, he does not make any marks in smoke on the walls. Tom and Becky realize they are completely lost and are unlikely even to find the bats again. The two children continue to walk through the cave, occasionally calling out for help. Becky is completely exhausted and sleeps for a while. She realizes that, since she said she would spend the night at Susy Harper's house, she will not be missed until the following day.
Tom and Becky hear the search party calling out to them. They shout back but their voices go unheard. The two children try to make their way to the men who are looking for them but find it blocked with pitfalls and crevices. They make their way to a spring and sit down there. They realize that they will soon run out of candles and be left in total darkness.
Becky sleeps. Tom explores side passages. He uses a kite string he had in his pocket to find his way back. In one passage, he sees light from a candle. He then sees that the candle is being held by Injun Joe. The terrified boy leaves unnoticed and explores other passages. He foes not tell Becky Injun Joe is in the cave.
After most people have given up the search for Tom and Becky, word reaches St. Petersburg that the two children have been found alive. While exploring one cavern, Tom saw a chink of daylight. He crawled towards it, found that he could squeeze through the hole and saw the Mississippi River. He went back to get Becky. They both escaped through the hole and followed the river until they found a house. At first, the occupants of the house did not believe that the two children were the boy and girl who had gone missing in McDougal's cave because the entrance to McDougal's cave is five miles away. They are taken back to St. Petersburg.
Weakened from his experience in the cave, Tom has to spend most of the rest of the week in bed. When he recovers, he goes to see Huckleberry Finn, who is still at the Widow Douglas' house recovering from his fever. The widow warns Tom not to say anything to Huck that could upset him. Tom learns of Inhun Joe's plan to attack the widow. He also learns that Injun Joe's accomplice has been found dead, having drowned while trying to escape.
Two weeks after leaving the cave, Tom visits Becky Thatcher's house. Her father tells him that, so that no other children will ever go through the horrible experience he and Becky went through, the door at the entrance to McDougal's cave has been sealed shut. Tom appears to be horrified to hear this news. The reason being that Tom knows Injun Joe was effectively buried alive inside the cave, Tom having told Judge Thatcher that Inkun Joe was in the cave, a search party goes to look for the man. His body is found. He survived for a while by catching a little dripping water from a stalactite and eating bats and old candle stubs before eventually starving to death.
Tom tells Huck that they may still be able to get the treasure that Injun Joe took. Tom believes it was not in room two at the temperance tavern after all but inside McDougal's cave. The two boys travel by raft to the hole out of which Tom and Becky escaped. Tom and Huck squeeze through the hole into the cave. They excitedly talk about the possibility of becoming robbers and using the cave as a hideout. Tom leads Huck to the place where he saw Injun Joe. A cross is marked on the wall in candle smoke. The spot beneath it would appear to be the "under the cross" that Injun Joe referred to earlier. The two boys eventually find the treasure and other objects, including guns. They decide to leave the guns where they are, figuring that they would be useful when they use the cave as their robbers' hideout, and take the box containing the treasure with them.
Jones sees the two boys. He assumes the large box they are carrying contains old iron they have collected and they do not tell him otherwise. He insists that they come with him to a party at the Widow Douglas' house. The party, attended by most of the prominent citizens of St. Petersburg, is being given by the Widow Douglas to thank Jones for saving her. When they arrive at the house, Tom and Huck have to change into nice clothes. Tom's half-brother Sid is already there. He says that Jones plans to surprise everyone by announcing that Huckleberry Finn was the true hero who saved the Widow Douglas. Sid has intentionally ruined that surprise by telling everyone already.
Everyone politely pretends to be surprised when Jones makes his announcement. The widow Douglas then says that she plans to take Huckleberry Finn into her home and educate him. Tom says that Huckleberry Finn does not need the widow's help because he is rich. Everybody thinks this is a joke. Tom and Huck then carry in the large box full of gold coins. The money inside it is counted out. It amounts to more than twelve thousand dollars.
News of how Tom and Huck suddenly became rich soon spreads. As a result, several young men go treasure hunting in other "haunted houses", although they find nothing. Tom and Huck's money is invested by Judge Thatcher. The boys are each given an allowance of a dollar a day, equal to the minister;s salary. Judge Thatcher intends to send Tom Sawyer to the National Military Academy and afterwards to law school.
After a week of living with the Widow Douglas, Huckleberry Finn suddenly runs away. The whole village searches for him to no avail. Tom finds him sleeping in an old barrel, as he used to do. Huck explains that, although he likes the Widow Douglas, he does not like how she forces him to wear nice clothes and will not allow him to spit, smoke or swear. Huck concludes that he is not cut out to be respectable. Tom replies that he will not allow him to join his band of robbers unless he becomes respectable, saying that Huck's bad reputation would taint the entire gang. On the condition that Tom lets him join his band of robbers, Huck agrees to return to the Widow Douglas' house and try again to be respectable for another month.
The novel concludes at this point. Mark Twain says that the novel is intended to be the story of a boy and that, id it continued any further, it would risk becoming the story of a man. He adds that many of the characters in the novel are still alive and that he might one day write more about what happened to some them later in their lives.
Films based on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer include Tom Sawyer (USA 1917), Tom Sawyer (USA 1930), Tom Sawyer (Russian: Том Сойер; USSR 1936), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (USA 1938), Aventure lui Tom Sawyer (Romania 1969), Las aventuras de Juancito (Mexico 1969), Tom Sawyer (USA 1973), Páni kluci (Czechoslovakia 1976), Tom and Huck (USA 1995), The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Canada 1998), Tom Sawyer (USA 2000, animated), Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (USA 2014) and Band of Robbers (USA 2015). Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Becky Thatcher appear as characters in the 1985 American claymation feature film The Adventures of Mark Twain, released in the United Kingdom as Comet Quest.
A one-hour musical called Tom Sawyer was produced for American television and first shown on the CBS network on November 21, 1956 as an episode of The United States Steel Hour. A seven-episode British TV series The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was first shown on the BBC between July 24 and September 4, 1960. The TV series Les aventures de Tom Sawyer was filmed in Romania and co-produced by production companies from France, Romania and West Germany/ The first episode originally aired on television in Austria and West Germany on December 6, 1968 and was released theatrically in Romania on the same day. The 26-episode TV series Huckleberry Finn and his Friends, the first twelve episodes of which are based on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was co-produced by production companies from Canada and West Germany. The first episode originally aired on Canadian television on January 1, 1980. The 48-episode anime series The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Japanese: トム・ソーヤーの冒険; Tomu Sōyā no Bōken) originally aired on Fuji TV in Japan between January 6 and December 29, 1980. The 95-minute American TV movie Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the action of which begins shortly after that of the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ends, first aired on CBS on February 27, 1982. The first episode of the 3-episode TV series The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (Russiam: Приключения Тома Сойера и Гекльберри Финна; Priklyuchenia Toma Soyera i Geklberi Finna) first aired on state television in the Soviet Union on March 27, 1982.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was adapted as a British musical with book, music and lyrics by Tom Boyd. It was originally performed under by students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under the title We're from Missouri. It was later re-titled Tom Sawyer and was first performed by a professional cast at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London in 1960. The production toured England the following year.
The American musical The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, with book by playwright Kevin Ludwig and music and lyrics by country musician Don Schlitz, was first performed at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway on April 26, 2001. It closed on May 13, 2002 after thirty-four previews and twenty-one performances. The part of Becky Thatcher was played by Kristen Bell, who later became best known for voicing the character of Anna in the 2013 Disney film Frozen and its sequels. The musical received mixed reviews. Bruce Weber of the New York Times found that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer lacked adult appeal because it lacked the subversive edge and the celebration of childhood exuberance of twain's original novel.
in 2015, the Mark twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut commissioned then 17-year-old American playwright Noah Altshuler to write a new stage adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with metafictional elements.
The Boys in Autumn, a play by the American playwright Bernhard Sabath that was first performed in San Francisco, California in 1981, presents the characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as old men who are reunited with each other for the first time in many years.
Tom Sawyer: A Ballet in Three Acts, with score by Maury Yeston and choreography by William Whitener, was first performed at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri on October 14, 2011.
The comic strip Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn by the American cartoonist Clare Victor Dwiggins originally ran in newspaper syndication between 1918 and 1931, Although the strip features several characters created by Mark Twain, it makes use of relatively little material from Twain's novels themselves.
Issue #50 of Classics Illustrated, which includes an adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was first published in the United States by Gilberton Company, Inc. in August 1948. The comic book was reprinted numerous times. Other American comic book adaptations of the novel were published by Dell Comics in 1957, Pendulum Press in 1973, First Comics in 1990, Capstone Publishers in 2007, Sterling Publishing in 2008, Papercutz in 2009 and UDON Entertainment in 2018.
Two video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Japanese: トム・ソーヤーの冒険), published by SETA, and Square's Tom Sawyer (Japanese: スクウェアのトム・ソーヤ), published by Square Co. Ltd., were both released in Japan in 1989.
- There is no reference to Tom Sawyer's father in the novel.
- Mark Twain makes a point of saying in the novel's preface, "The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West at the period of this story-that is to say thirty or forty years ago."
- It is not stated which parent Tom and Sid share, although it is stated that Tom's late mother was his Aunt Polly's sister. The name "Sid Sawyer" is used in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, however, the character is only referred to as "Sid".
- Although Mary is Tom's cousin, she is not Aunt Polly's daughter. She also calls the woman "Aunt Polly".
- The young slave Jim who appears in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is not the same character as the adult slave Jim who appears in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- An andiron is a utensil used to support burning wood in a fireplace. Two andirons are placed either side of the wood.
- The reason why Dr. Robinson wants Hoss Williams corpse is never explained. It can be presumed that he either intended to dissect it himself in order to improve his own knowledge of anatomy or that he intended to pass it on to a college where it could be used by medical students, as in Robert Louis Stevenson's short story "The Body Snatcher".
- In a footnote, Mark Twain states that all the excerpts from essays that he uses, although they appear to be essays written by schoolchildren, were in fact taken verbatim from a book called Prose and Poetry by a Western Lady
- The comic book has subsequently been republished by other publishers, including as issue #7 of Marvel Classics Comics in 1976.