Well, we didn’t find any forgiveness between the schoolhouse romantics in these chapters! Tom’s fledgling romance with Becky causes him to wish he were dead so she could feel really sorry for making him upset. But then he comes up with a different plan. As he wanders through the woods, he thinks about how he could run away and decides to become a pirate instead; “the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main.” His decision ends up putting him smack dab in the middle of the adventure of a lifetime.
This week’s reading brings us to a turning point. The whole feeling of chapter 9 is ominous. The quiet, the sneaking out, the graveyard, the men coming towards the boys imagined to be devils, and finally the awful event that Tom and Huck witnessed. So far we have seen Tom’s life as mischief and play but this changes everything. The real world invades boyhood play and becomes all Tom thinks about.
Tom and Huck don’t know what Injun Joe has planned, but they are scared to death of him. Their pact sealed in blood to “keep mum” about what happened is significant. The boys take this oath seriously and even when they find out the trouble that Muff Potter is in, would rather say nothing and keep themselves safe. Ahh, but the conscience doesn’t let Tom feel okay with Muff being jailed unfairly and he tries to make some kind of offering through bringing him food. It must be hard to be a little boy and have to decide what to do about something this giant.
The novel returns briefly to Tom’s love for Becky. With her illness keeping her from school, Tom feels out of sorts himself. When she does return to school, she snubs Tom and he can’t win her affection with his crazy “showing off.” It’s comical how he feels like nobody cares about him and then meeting up with a pal who feels the same way. This sets the stage for him running away again, this time to Jackson’s Island. Didn’t you love the pirate names they gave themselves? Joe Harper “Terror of the Red Seas,” and Huck Finn “the Red-Handed.” They all have a grand time on the island but they don’t seem to really know much about what a pirate actually does.
The whole town seems to be looking for them, thinking they had drowned in the river. The boys are happy that they are being missed, but decide to stay on the island where everything is peaceful and innocent-unlike the harsh reality back home. But once again, conscience rears its head and Tom feels guilty. He can’t really run away from reality and he knows it. As soon as Huck and Joe are asleep, Tom sneaks away and heads towards the shore. Am anxious to continue reading and find out what happens when Tom and the boys return home from that island.
Next week I’ll be looking at Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disneyland (and of course, the pirate transformation that it’s currently themed) and see how Walt Disney was influenced by the book we are reading.
Reading for week three: Adventures of Tom Sawyer chapters 15-21
Things to ponder:
- What do you think of Mark Twain’s portrayal of Injun Joe? Do you feel sympathy for him or think that Twain wanted us to?
- Tom seems to be very superstitious. What were some of the superstitions that he believed in? What is the superstition of the howling dog?
- How does Tom convince Joe that a pirate’s life is better than a hermit’s?
Contributed by: Lynnette Johnson (NDM#271) Lynnette is the DDL Book of the Month Blogger.