Tom Sawyer Summary Essay, Research Paper
Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid in the town of St. Petersburg on the Mississippi River. A mischievous boy, Tom frequently gets into trouble. As punishment one Saturday, his Aunt forces him to whitewash the fence; however, he cleverly convinces his friends to trade him small treasures for the “privilege” of doing his work. He trades those treasures for tickets given out by the Sunday School for memorizing Bible verses, and uses those tickets to claim a Bible as a prize. However, he loses the Bible when he states that the first two disciples were David and Goliath.
Tom falls in love with Becky Thatcher, the new girl in town, and convinces her to get “engaged.” Their romance collapses when she learns that he had been engaged before. Shortly afterward, Tom accompanies Huckleberry Finn, the son of the town drunk, to the graveyard at night to try out a “cure” for warts. There, they witness the murder of young Doctor Robinson by the part-Indian “half-breed,” Injun Joe, and run away. They swear a blood oath not to tell anyone what they saw.
Injun Joe blames Muff Potter, a hapless drunk, for the crime. Potter is arrested, and meanwhile, Tom, Huck, and Tom’s friend Joe Harper run away to an island to become pirates. They return a few days later, and interrupt their own funeral. A little later, Tom accepts the blame for a book ripped by Becky; his noble act restores him to her favor.
The trial of Muff Potter arrives, and Tom, overcome by guilt, testifies. Potter is acquitted, but Injun Joe flees the courtroom through a window. Summer arrives, and Tom and Huck go hunting for buried treasure in a “ha’nted house.” There, they spy on Injun Joe, disguised as a deaf and dumb Spaniard, and see him and a partner find a box of gold and carry it to another hiding place.
While Huck shadows Injun Joe, Tom goes on a picnic to McDougal’s Cave with Becky, where the two become lost in the cavern. Meanwhile, Huck saves the Widow Douglas from being attacked by Injun Joe, and the entire town, realizing that Tom and Becky are missing, begins to search for them. Looking for a way out, Tom spots Injun Joe in the cave.
Eventually, just as the searchers are giving up, Tom finds a way out. The town celebrates, and Becky’s father, Judge Thatcher, locks up the cave. Injun Joe, trapped inside, starves to death. A week later Tom takes Huck to the cave and they find the box of gold, which is given to Judge Thatcher to invest for them. Widow Douglas adopts Huck, and when he attempts to escape civilized life, Tom promises him that if he returns to the Widow, he can join Tom’s robber band. Huck agrees, reluctantly.