Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 18: Tom Reveals His Dream Secret
The day after the "funeral," Tom receives more than his fair share of hugs and attention from Aunt Polly and Mary at breakfast; however, Aunt Polly gently reprimands Tom for not considering the worry and agony he has caused her while he was himself having a good time. She tells him that if he could manage to come to his own funeral, he could have thought of giving her a hint that he was not dead. Tom says that would have spoiled the whole fun. Aunt Polly tells him that she had hoped that he loved her more than he loved having fun. Mary consoles Aunt Polly by saying that Tom does not think because he is always in a hurry. Aunt Polly says that someday, when it is too late, Tom will know he should have cared more about her. Tom cannot bear to see his auntís sad face any longer. He tells her that he does care for her and that he dreamed about her. He then narrates all the events that had taken place on the night of his visit. He concludes by saying that he kissed her before he left.
As Aunt Polly goes to visit Mrs. Harper, Tom leaves for school. In the classroom, he and Joe are heroes. They narrate their adventures to an eager audience. Tom decides that he has had enough of Becky and her tantrums. Now that he is basking in glory, she no longer seems so important. When Becky enters, he pretends not to see her. He goes on talking and ignores Becky, who is hurt by his actions. To draw Tomís attention, she starts speaking to the girls around her. She announces that she is going to have a picnic. This excites the children, and they all beg Becky to include them in her party. Still, Tom does not take notice of her. Instead, he takes Amy Lawrenceís arm and moves away.
Becky, stubborn as always, is not about to give up; she is determined to win Tom back. To make him jealous, she befriends Tomís enemy, Alfred Temple, the new boy in town, then she realizes that Tom has already left. She is angry and hurt and turns her spite on Alfred, who quickly realizes that Becky was showing an interest in him only to make Tom jealous. Feeling humiliated, Alfred wants to vent his anger. Spying Tomís spelling book, he pours ink on it and covers the dayís lesson. Becky, seeing this, intends to tell Tom in the hope that he will be grateful to her. On her way home, Becky thinks about the way Tom has treated her and decides to keep mum about the ink incident and let Tom be punished by the teacher.
This chapter is split between the reactions of Tomís family to his return and the reactions of his classmates. At breakfast, Tom is greeted with hugs, attention, and a gentle reprimand from Aunt Polly about making her worry. To make her feel better Tom tells her he has had a dream about her, and then relates all of the events of his secret trip home, ending the story with his kiss. The dream pleases the gullible Polly so much that she plans to go and visit Joeís mother and repeat the dream.
Back in school, Tom is treated like a hero, and he loves every second of it. Suddenly, Becky does not seem quite so important to him. In fact, he intentionally ignores her. Becky tries desperately to win Tom back. The two of them try to make each other jealous, Tom by flirting with Amy and Becky by flirting with Alfred. Both of them, however, are angry and miserable and curse themselves for allowing a wonderful opportunity to slip out of their grasps. When Becky deserts Alfred, he wants to get back at Tom. He pours ink on one of Tomís books so that the Master will punish him. Becky sees this and wants to go and tell Tom; but when she is reminded of how Tom has ignored her, she decides to remain silent and let Tom be punished.
The chapter is filled with conflict for Tom. First, he must deal with a sad Aunt Polly and convince her that he really does love her. Then he goes to school and must pretend in front of Becky that he does not love her any more. When he sees her with Alfred, however, he regrets treating her so poorly.