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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 28: In the Lair of Injun Joe
Tom and Huck lie in wait for an opportunity to break into Injun Joe’s room, but the first night their efforts are in vain. They are unsuccessful for the next two days as well, for the night is too bright for them to try any keys in the door; however, on Thursday, the third night of watching, they meet with success. The night is dark enough to cover their activities, and no one is moving around in the alley. Leaving Huck to keep watch, Tom goes cautiously to the door number 2 to try the keys. For Huck, it seems to be an endless wait. He becomes restless and imagines all sorts of bad things happening to Tom. Suddenly, Tom appears on the run and shouts for Huck to do the same. Huck takes to his heels, and neither boy stops until they have reached safety of the slaughterhouse. Once Tom catches his breath, he tells Huck that the door was not locked. When he went inside, he saw Joe drunk and lying on the floor. They decide to wait and make sure that Injun Joe is not in his room before they try going into the room again. Huck promises to watch the room every night and signal Tom if the Indian leaves.
Tom and Huck bravely decide to break into Injun Joe’s room to find the treasure. Tom goes to the room after asking Huck to keep watch. Since he finds the door unlocked, he goes inside. When Tom sees Injun Joe passed out on the floor, he is scared to death and runs out, telling Huck to follow him. They flee to the slaughterhouse for safety, and as soon as they enter, there is a fierce thunderstorm, matching the fearful moods of the boys.
Tom’s desire for the treasure is obviously very strong. Even though he knows Injun Joe will probably kill him if given the chance, he enters the Indian’s room. Even after he finds Joe inside, he does not give up the hunt for the treasure. Tom merely postpones it until another night when he and Huck are sure that Injun Joe is not around.
Towards the end of the chapter, Twain comments on the relationship that Huck shares with the Negro slave, Uncle Jake. It is a significant relationship, for in Tom and Huck’s time, white people usually do not associate with blacks. Huck, an outcast himself, can identify with Uncle Jake. He says that he is a "mighty good nigger" and that he likes him because he does not pretend to be superior. He often offers food to Huck, but he declines to take it unless he is really hungry.