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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 27: Trembling On the Trail
The next morning, Tom thinks that he has dreamed the events of the previous day. To confirm that it was not a dream, Tom goes to visit Huck, who is still moaning over their folly in leaving the pick and spade downstairs. If Injun Joe had not seen the fresh dirt on the pick, he probably would have reburied the treasure in the haunted house, and Tom and Huck could have seized it.
The boys resolve to track down the treasure, but first they have to locate Injun Joe’s den. Tom thinks that it is a room in one of the taverns in town and decides to investigate all by himself. His first stop is the best tavern in town, but it is occupied solely by a lawyer. He then goes to the second tavern and learns, from the owner’s son, that door 2 is always kept locked. Tom concludes that this is probably Injun Joe’s number 2 hideout. He goes back to Huck and tells him of his findings. They decide to collect as many keys as possible, hoping that one will fit door 2, so that they can break into the room. They also promise to follow Injun Joe if they should see him.
In this chapter, a continuation of the previous one, Twain again points out the basic intelligence of Tom. It does not take him long to figure out that number 2 probably refers to one of the rooms in the taverns in town. He goes to the taverns on his own to follow up his instinct. He learns from the owner’s son that room number 2 always stays locks, and people only come and go from it during the dead of night. Tom is convinced this is where Injun Joe hides out.
It is important to notice that the romantic Tom cannot actually believe he has really seen a box filled with gold. He is sure he must have dreamed it all. He lives in such a world of make- believe so much of the time, that he cannot always distinguish between appearance and reality. Huck, who is much more rooted in reality, is certain about the events of the previous day. He rarely has the chance to dream, for he must face the harsh realities of his homeless existence on a daily basis. When he does dream, it is usually a nightmare. On Thursday, he dreamed of rats. Last night he dreamed of being murdered by Injun Joe.
It is also important to notice that Tom goes to the tavern by himself, because he does not want to be seen in town with Huck Finn. Although he is friends with Huck, Tom does not want to oppose openly the dictums that society has laid down, and the St. Petersburg society does not approve of Huck. Twain is subtly criticizing they hypocrisy of class distinctions.
Finally, it is important to notice that Tom’s desire for the treasure is obviously greater than his fear of Injun Joe. He goes to the tavern by himself to try and locate the criminal. He also decides to search for the treasure, promises to follow the Indian if he spies him, and makes Huck promise the same things.