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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Chapter 7 | Summary



Tom spends the morning in school toying with the tick and waiting for noon. At noon break, he is again able to talk to Becky. As promised, he shows her how to draw, holding her hand to help her. He then says they ought to get engaged. He explains that she has to tell him she loves him, which she does, and then says, "It's all over but the kiss."

Unfortunately for Tom, he slips and reveals that Becky is not the first girl to whom he has been engaged. He offers her a gift—an andiron knob, a metal hearth support for firewood—but she knocks it to the floor. In response Tom walks out. When she calls him back he's already gone.


Becky's rejection comes because of Tom's unplanned admission. As with Aunt Polly, Becky sees his affection and cares for him in return; however, his lies upset her. Becky is not as trusting as his friends. Jim, Aunt Polly, Sid, and Becky have all seen the truth behind Tom's words, but his friends and classmates are more easily duped by Tom's stories.

The andiron knob (the decorative top on the metal frame that holds logs in a fireplace) Tom offers Becky is symbolic of the truth of his affections. Offering a physical token of intent along with an engagement is traditional; rings were used as early as the 15th century. While this is neither a ring nor an offer to her father, the andiron knob is—to Tom, who loves to collect odd objects—a sign of his regard for Becky. Her rejection of it is a rejection of him, and his departure is not surprising in that context.

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