Summary | The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer lived with his Aunt Polly, cousin, Mary and half-brother, Sid. He was an extremely clever boy who loved mischief. But Tom also had very good luck which always helped him get away with the mischief he did.

One day, his Aunt Polly was looking for him. She looked everywhere. She looked in her room too but he was nowhere. She went back to his room and called to him. But there was no answer. Suddenly, Aunt Polly saw something move under Tom’s bed. She thought it was Tom. She bent down and swiftly pulled the bed cover. A cat that Tom had hidden there sprung out at Aunt Polly. Surprised looking at this, she shouted.

Just as Aunt Polly was shooing the cat out of the window, she felt someone behind her. It was Tom, trying to escape from the room. He had been hiding in the cupboard. Aunt Polly caught him by the collar and scolded him about eating all the jam. But Tom insisted that he hasn’t touched the jam and that Sid might have been the one who did the act. But Aunt Polly could see the jam all over Tom’s face. Tom quickly tried to wipe his face but it was too late. Aunt Polly was going to beat Tom with a stick since Tom had become too mischievous. Tom made Aunt Polly look behind her. She turned to see but there was no one. It was just one of Tom’s tricks and this time he used it to get away from Aunt Polly because when she turned around again, he wasn’t there.

Tom was so happy with himself for fooling Aunt Polly again that he decided to take the day off from school. Instead, he went to the river and bathed in it. At lunchtime, he went into a nearby farm, stole fruits from there and ran out of there with the owner chasing behind him. Just as he was running, he bumped into Sid. Sid saw Tom’s wet hair and clothes and the fruits in his hands and understood that Tom hadn’t gone to school but he didn’t say anything. When Tom reached home, Aunt Polly was waiting for him and she was angry. Tom understood that Sid had told her everything. For once, Tom got himself into trouble. He had no answer for Aunt Polly’s question.

He was sentenced to whitewash the fence the next day. But Tom gets out of the punishment by tricking the local boys into paying him for the privilege of whitewashing the fence. Aunt Polly rewarded Tom thinking that he did whitewash fence incredibly. Tome beat up Sid for telling Aunt Polly he didn’t go to school and then played “war” with his friends.

On his way back home, he sees a girl standing in Jeff Thatcher’s house, Becky Thatcher. He falls hopelessly in love and starts showing off for her. The next day, in Sunday school, Tom uses the loot he made with the fence scheme to buy a bunch of “tickets” from the other boys. He uses these tickets to get himself a Bible prize. But Tom makes a fool of himself in front of a visitor, Judge Thatcher, and the rest of the Sunday school crowd when he tells them all that the first two apostles were named “David and Goliath.” Before school the next day, Tom runs into Huckleberry Finn. Huck is the son of the town drunk and he has no mother, so he basically gets to do whatever he wants. Everyone, including Tom, envies Huck. Tom and Huck start discussing various ways to cure warts, and then agree to meet up at the graveyard at midnight to try out a new cure involving a dead cat.

Tom shows up at school late, prepared to make up an excuse, when he notices that the only seat open on the girl’s side is next to that girl. So when the schoolmaster asks him to explain himself, he tells him that he’s been talking to Huckleberry Finn, which shocks the schoolmaster. Tom is whipped and then “forced” to go sit next to the girl. Tom impresses her with his awful drawing skills, and then introduces himself. The girl is Becky. Just before Tom is pulled away by the schoolmaster for being disorderly, they agree to meet outside during recess.

During recess, Tom gets Becky to tell her she loves him and to give him a kiss, but he mucks it all up when he mentions his old flame Amy Lawrence. He tries to make up by giving Becky a gift, but she throws it to the ground. Tom runs off to the woods and sulks for a while, but before too long, he’s dreaming about being an “Indian” and a pirate. His fantasy is interrupted by Joe Harper, and the two boys play Robin Hood for the rest of the afternoon.

One night, Huck and Tom sneak off at midnight to the town’s graveyard, where they are planning to carry out a special ritual used to cure warts. Believers in superstition and folklore, the two expect the graveyard to be full of ghosts. After hearing voices approach them, the two boys hide in fear; the voices belong to Injun Joe, the villainous savage, Muff Potter, the town drunk, and Dr. Robinson. The three men are grave robbing. Soon, a fight breaks out between Dr. Robinson and the two other men. As Dr. Robinson grabs a headboard and knocks the liquored Muff Potter into unconsciousness, Injun Joe grabs Muff’s knife and stabs the doctor to death. The boys run away from the graveyard before they learn that Injun Joe is planning on framing Muff for the doctor’s murder. Fearful of Injun Joe and horrified at what they have witnessed, Huck and Tom vow to keep silent regarding the night’s events.

The next day brings only grief for Tom. Aunt Polly learns from Sid that Tom snuck out the night before and cries over him. At school, Becky snubs Tom by paying no heed to his boyish antics. Hurt and angry, Tom assembles a “gang” of pirates: himself, Joe Harper, and Huck. The three boys decide that they have had enough of normal society and run away to Jackson Island, in the middle of the Mississippi River.

When the boys are missing, the whole town assumes that they have drowned in the river and villagers drag the river for their bodies. In the darkness of the night, Tom sneaks off the island to return home and leave a note for Aunt Polly informing her that he is not dead.  Instead, he overhears Polly and Mrs. Harper making plans for their funerals. The boys then wait until the morning of their own funeral, sneak back into town and attend their own funerals before revealing to the congregation that they are alive.

The boys are treated as heroes at school. Tom, still mad at Becky, ignores her and flirts with Amy Lawrence instead. In order to get back at Tom, Becky invites everyone within earshot to a picnic – except Tom and Amy – but when this doesn’t work she’s forced to try another plan. When Tom sees her reading a book with another classmate, he gets angry and leaves.

Aunt Polly finds out that Tom’s whole “psychic” bit was a scam, and she confronts Tom. She’s angry that he didn’t let her know he was still alive. He tells her that he thought about doing so – which he did – but she has a hard time believing him until she finds the note in his pocket.

The next day at school, Tom sees Becky peeking at the schoolmaster’s special anatomy book. When she sees Tom, she tries to put the book away as quickly as possible but rips a page in the process. When the schoolmaster finds the torn page and starts asking who ripped it, Tom lies and takes responsibility so that Becky doesn’t have to get punished. He’s whipped, but he doesn’t mind.

Summer vacation rolls around and Tom finds himself incredibly bored. The murder trial starts, however, and he and Huck both become consumed with guilt. Finally, Tom breaks down and testifies on the last day of Muff Potter’s trial, saving Muff. Injun Joe flees the courtroom before anyone can react.

Tom is hit by treasure-hunting fever, and he enlists Huck to help him look. The two boys decide to search inside a “haunted” house one night. Their hunt is interrupted by the appearance of two men, one of whom turns out to be Injun Joe dressed as a “Spaniard.” Tom and Huck watch as Injun Joe happens upon a box of gold coins buried in the floor. Injun Joe, who has been using the place as a safe house, becomes suspicious when he sees the boys’ tools in the corner, and takes the coins with him. The boys only narrowly escape being found.

Tom and Huck hear Injun Joe mention a hiding place, “Number Two, under the cross,” which they determine to be in a room at one of the town’s taverns. Tom sneaks into the room one night and finds Injun Joe drunk on the floor. Huck agrees to stand to watch outside the room every night until he sees some activity.

Becky’s picnic rolls around and Tom forgets about the treasure. Tom and Becky head into the local cave along with the rest of the kids. That night while on lookout duty, Huck sees two shadowy figures enter the room, then exit with a box. He follows them to just outside the Widow Douglas’s house, where he hears the men, who turn out to be Injun Joe and his partner, discussing their “revenge.”  Huck gets the help of the Welshman, a man who lives nearby, then runs away as fast as he can.

The next morning, he returns to visit the Welshman, who tells him that the two men got away. Huck reveals that one of the men was Injun Joe and promptly falls sick. Meanwhile, Tom and Becky are lost in the cave. They attempt to find their way out to no avail and, because Tom and Becky lied and said they were going to spend the night at the Harpers’ house, no one notices until Sunday morning. Rescuers, including Judge Thatcher, are dispatched.

Tom continues to look for a way out of the cave and thinks he’s found one when he sees a rescuer coming around the corner in the cave, but it’s Injun Joe. Luckily, Tom escapes unnoticed. Eventually, he is able to find his way out of a small hole and heads back into town with Becky. Once Tom is fully recuperated, he goes to visit Becky. He runs into Judge Thatcher, who tells him that the entrance to the cave has been sealed with a metal door. Tom tells the judge that Injun Joe was in there. The townspeople rush out to the cave and find Joe dead by the door.

When he meets up with Huck, Tom informs him that he knows where the treasure is buried. Mistaking the treasure for lost, Huck is eager to return to MacDougal’s cave with Tom in search of the money. After recovering the treasure from the cave, the two boys return to town, only to be ushered into the Widow Douglas’s parlor. To express her gratitude towards Huck for saving her life, the widow intends on giving Huck a permanent home and providing him with an education.

Declaring that Huck is now independently wealthy, Tom spring forward with their newfound treasure, totaling over twelve thousand dollars. Tom runs and gets the money, then dumps it on the table. It is split into two shares, and both Tom and Huck receive a considerable income as a result. Huck soon tires of living with the Widow, but Tom convinces him to go back and live with her.

In the end, Huck and Tom were discussing their future plans of becoming world-class robbers.