The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Course Hero. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Study Guide." May 17, 2017. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Adventures-of-Tom-Sawyer/.

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Course Hero, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Study Guide," May 17, 2017, accessed November 13, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Adventures-of-Tom-Sawyer/.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Chapter 14 | Summary

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Summary

Their next day on the island is as before. Tom studies an inchworm (which means he'll get a new set of clothes, according to superstition). Then they hear what they first think is a storm but then realize is the cannon, indicating that someone has died. Huck shares a trick for finding the dead. (Mercury in a loaf of bread will stop and float where a person has drowned.) The boys discuss why the trick works, and they lament not being on shore to find out who's drowned.

Tom realizes the cannon was for them; the villagers believe the boys have drowned. They enjoy the thought of their fame and the envy they expect others will feel over their adventure. Joe, however, asks what they think about going back. Tom rejects this, and Huck sides with him. Despite this, when Joe and Huck are asleep, Tom leaves the island.

Analysis

Superstition and folk wisdom continue to figure prominently in the story. Insects and death are common features of the superstitions in the novel so far.

The differences between the three boys and their families also continue to become more evident. Joe, who has an intact family unit, is the first to consider returning at the realization that they are thought to be dead. Huck has no reason to leave or stay, but at this point, he's content. He sides with Tom when Tom argues against returning. Tom disregards his friends' thoughts and opinions. He also leaves the island—doing the very thing he argued against doing.

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