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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
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THE STORY - CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 24

The next ten chapters largely concern Injun Joe's fate. This chapter describes the aftermath of Tom's testimony and builds suspense by reminding you several times that the murderer is still at large.

Tom is a genuine hero. His celebrity, though delicious to him, does little to calm his fears. His nights are "seasons of horror," terrorized by dreams of Injun Joe.

Huck is terrified that Injun Joe might hear that he witnessed the murder, too. Potter's lawyer has promised to tell no one. But Huck has lost faith in such promises, now that Tom has broken the blood oath between them.

Tom fears that he will never be safe until he has seen Injun Joe's corpse. Remember this statement. It foreshadows the resolution of this plot line by setting-in Tom's eyes-the only acceptable terms for a successful outcome.

A big-city detective from St. Louis arrives to investigate the case. He finds a clue (Twain spelled it "clew")- hardly a substitute for Injun Joe's corpse.


NOTE: OUTSIDERS

The citizens of St. Petersburg are in awe of outsiders such as the detective from St. Louis and Judge Thatcher, whose "very eyes had looked upon the county court house," twelve miles away in Constantinople. By citing the townspeople's exalted view of outsiders, Twain demonstrates that St. Petersburg is small and isolated enough to give its residents an inferiority complex. However, the narrator's ironic tone lets you know he is even more sophisticated than the outsiders. He calls the detective "one of those omniscient and awe-inspiring marvels" in a tone that indicates that the man is anything but awesome. One of the novel's minor villains-in Tom's eyes, at least-is Alfred Temple, another outsider from St. Louis. What Temple has in common with the two adults is that he seems like an adult, dressing like a dandy and wearing shoes. Only one outsider, Becky Thatcher, comes off well. Can you suggest why?

CHAPTER 25

Twain sets the stage for further adventures with this chapter, in which Tom and Huck hunt for buried treasure. The chapter gives you a wonderful chance to note the many differences between the boys.

Tom can't find anyone to hunt treasure with until he bumps into Huck. Huck goes along, because Tom's proposal promises to be entertaining and free. Huck, you're told, has a "superabundance of that sort of time which is not money." Tom is once again the leader of an adventure he designed. Huck regards him as an expert on treasure-hunting, and Tom is happy to live up to Huck's expectations. He explains where treasure is likely to be hidden, who hides it, and why. Huck, whose mind is very practical, can't understand why anyone would hide money. "I'd spend it and have a good time." So would Tom, but he knows from books that "robbers don't do it that way."

NOTE: "STILL-HOUSE BRANCH"

Tom says there may be treasure in the old haunted house "up the Still-House branch." This refers to an actual stream (branch) in Hannibal where one of the town's three distilleries was located.

While digging beneath a dead tree limb, the boys discuss how they'll spend their treasure. Tom surprises Huck by saying he'll use some of his money to get married. Huck remembers his parents' fights. "The girl I'm going to marry won't fight," Tom says. Is he deceiving himself? How much time have he and Becky spent together without fighting?

The boys haven't dropped their superstitions, as their discussion of witches and ghosts illustrates. Folk wisdom, perhaps gleaned from a book, tells Tom that they can best locate the site of buried treasure at midnight. So the boys return at night-an indication that Tom's fear of Injun Joe has abated. They measure the shadow of a dead limb and start digging. When they find no treasure, they decide they must have measured the shadow at the wrong time.

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