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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Mid-1800s, a Saturday

    Tom must whitewash the fence.

    Chapter 2
  • The same Saturday

    Tom first sees Becky.

    Chapter 3
  • The next Monday

    Tom and Huck see the murder of Dr. Robinson.

    Chapter 9
  • A few days later

    Becky is ill, and Tom grows despondent.

    Chapter 12
  • A few days later

    Becky rejects Tom.

    Chapter 12
  • The same day

    Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper run away.

    Chapter 13
  • The next Sunday

    Tom, Huck, and Joe return.

    Chapter 17
  • The next Tuesday

    Tom takes Becky's punishment for ripping the anatomy book.

    Chapter 19
  • Several weeks later

    Tom testifies against Injun Joe.

    Chapter 23
  • Several weeks later

    Tom and Huck search for treasure.

    Chapter 25
  • The next day

    Tom and Huck discover the Spaniard is Injun Joe.

    Chapter 26
  • The following night

    Tom and Huck watch for Injun Joe to find his treasure.

    Chapter 28
  • The next Saturday

    Huck sees Injun Joe at Widow Douglas's house and warns the Welchman.

    Chapter 29
  • The same day

    Tom and Becky get lost in the cave where Injun Joe is.

    Chapter 31
  • Sunday

    Huck is sick with a fever.

    Chapter 30
  • The next Tuesday

    Tom and Becky get rescued.

    Chapter 32
  • Two weeks later

    Tom discovers Injun Joe dead in the cave.

    Chapter 33
  • The day after the funeral

    Tom and Huck find the treasure.

    Chapter 33
  • That night

    Tom and Huck reveal the treasure.

    Chapter 34

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface Twain's preface tells readers there are autobiographical sources to the events in the novel. It also alerts them to when... Read More
Chapter 1 Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and half-brother, Sidney, in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. In the novel's o... Read More
Chapter 2 Saturday comes and, with it, Tom's punishment. His task is to whitewash the fence. It's a glorious day. Blossoms and bri... Read More
Chapter 3 Tom reports to Aunt Polly to let her know the chore is done. Not surprisingly, she doubts him. When she sees that the wo... Read More
Chapter 4 The next day, Sunday, Tom is to prepare the verses he was meant to have memorized. He hasn't done so, unlike Sid. After ... Read More
Chapter 5 While at church, Tom spends his time watching the congregants rather than paying attention to the service. Through his o... Read More
Chapter 6 The following morning finds Tom in low spirits. He alarms his aunt by telling her that his toe is "mortified" (severely ... Read More
Chapter 7 Tom spends the morning in school toying with the tick and waiting for noon. At noon break, he is again able to talk to B... Read More
Chapter 8 Tom doesn't return to school after the noon break. Instead he goes into the woods, where he is faced with another disapp... Read More
Chapter 9 Tom and Sid go to bed, but Tom sneaks out to meet Huck in the graveyard. Huck is there with his dead cat, and the boys w... Read More
Chapter 10 Tom and Huck are terrified that they might have been seen by the men in the graveyard. It is not clear to them yet wheth... Read More
Chapter 11 The village has condemned Muff Potter for suspicious behavior before he is even found. He claims he isn't guilty, but In... Read More
Chapter 12 Tom's sadness over Becky's absence from school causes Aunt Polly to resort to numerous treatments. Among these cures are... Read More
Chapter 13 Tom's response to Becky's rejection and his other difficulties is to run away. He encounters Joe Harper, who is likewise... Read More
Chapter 14 Their next day on the island is as before. Tom studies an inchworm (which means he'll get a new set of clothes, accordin... Read More
Chapter 15 Tom's return is part of the adventure. He sneaks into his home and listens to his aunt, his cousin, and Joe's mother. Ev... Read More
Chapter 16 For the next two days, the boys continue their adventure. They swim, explore, feast on turtle eggs, pretend to be in the... Read More
Chapter 17 In St. Petersburg, Becky, the Harpers, and Aunt Polly are mourning. The boys' funeral is planned for Sunday, and Becky i... Read More
Chapter 18 Tom's solution for consoling Aunt Polly is to lie to her and tell her about his "dream." That dream, of course, is what ... Read More
Chapter 19 Tom's return home does little to improve his mood. Aunt Polly confronts him with his lies about a dream, and she is once... Read More
Chapter 20 Strengthened by Aunt Polly's affection the next morning, Tom apologizes to Becky. She is not as quick to forgive and reb... Read More
Chapter 21 As vacation approaches, examination day arrives. Long, often florid poems are presented here, allowing the reader to exp... Read More
Chapter 22 Tom joins the Cadets of Temperance. He promises to "abstain from smoking, chewing and profanity." The difficulty is that... Read More
Chapter 23 The time comes for the trial of Muff Potter. Huck and Tom discuss it, wishing they could "get him out," but they promise... Read More
Chapter 24 Tom is a hero, and Huck is not named. Muff Potter's gratitude makes Tom sure he's done the right thing, but Tom is plagu... Read More
Chapter 25 In a return to more childlike thoughts, Tom is struck by the urge to search for treasure. He attempts to enlist several ... Read More
Chapter 26 Tom tells Huck about Robin Hood, and they play pretend. Eventually, though, they end up exploring a "haunted house." The... Read More
Chapter 27 Tom dreams of the events at the house. He seeks out Huck, and they decide to try to find the hiding place Joe and the ot... Read More
Chapter 28 For three days the boys watch for their opportunity. Finally Tom goes to try the door while Huck stands watch. The keys ... Read More
Chapter 29 On Friday the Thatcher family returns, and Becky's mother agrees to a long-promised picnic. Because it will be a late da... Read More
Chapter 30 The following day Huck returns and is welcomed warmly by the Welchman. He tells Huck about what happened, that the crimi... Read More
Chapter 31 Tom and Becky are lost in the cave. Their adventure over the next several days is harsh. They wander, find water, and ea... Read More
Chapter 32 Tom finds a way out, and after he goes back for Becky and convinces her to come with him, they push their way out of the... Read More
Chapter 33 The men once more load the skiffs and go to McDougal's cave. When the door of the cave is unlocked, they find Injun Joe ... Read More
Chapter 34 When Tom and Huck go to wash and change, Sid is there to further worry them. They are already eager to flee, and Sid's r... Read More
Chapter 35 With the revelation that the entire town has embarked on a treasure hunt, Tom settles in to a future where Judge Thatche... Read More
Conclusion The novel ends with a short section noting that the story is the "history of a boy." It ties to the preface in that the ... Read More
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