Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 36: Trying to Help Jim
Tom and Huck dig the hole with knives, but it is slow going; they soon realize that they will never be able to dig a hole large enough for Jimís escape. They bring picks and shovels and pretend that they are using knives. They soon have a hole that extends into Jimís cabin. They pass him plates, knives, shirts, and other things they have stolen during the day. Tom asks Jim to keep a journal with his blood. Although Jim sees no sense in Tomís plan, Jim goes along with it.
Tom reveals his plans to Jim, and although he can make no sense of the whole affair, he goes along with it since he has no choice. Twain is drawing oneís attention to the helpless state that slaves were in. Even when they know a white person is wrong, they cannot tell for fear that they will be ill-treated or beaten.
Twain continues to use practical jokes and superstitions. Tom and Huck convince Nat, one of the Phelpsí slaves, that there are witches about, and the boys hide a candlestick in Jimís corn-pone, which almost breaks his tooth. But many of the boysí antics cease to be humorous because they create discomfort for Jim. The only one who is amused is Tom Sawyer, who thinks they are doing things up in a grand style.