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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Chapter 35 | Summary



With the revelation that the entire town has embarked on a treasure hunt, Tom settles in to a future where Judge Thatcher is minding his money and helping to guide his future. Huck runs away—until Tom finds him and tells him that to be in the gang of robbers they discussed, he needs to give civilization another chance.


The town-wide treasure hunt is an inversion wherein it is not the boys who are becoming mature adults, but the adults who are undertaking seemingly childish pursuits (hunting buried treasure) because Tom and Huck's adventure was so successful. Tom has found a male figure to guide him, and he's done so by way of breaking a lot of rules and having adventures.

Both boys are rewarded—literally—with the modern equivalent of over $100,000 each.

However, simultaneously, Huck rejects all of it. His response to being taken in by Widow Douglas solidifies the difference between Tom and Huck. While Tom has begun to mature by this point in the novel and accept the rules of society, the limits of those rules are smothering for Huck. He'd rather sacrifice wealth than be in a house, wear restricting clothes, and navigate constricting social norms, suggesting that, for him, social norms imply not growing maturity but artificial constriction. Huck's rejection results in Tom's going after him and luring him in with stories of a gang of robbers, telling him, in essence, that the adventures do not have to end.

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