The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Tom Sawyer Character Analysis

Tom is Huck’s childhood friend, a boy from a respectable family who is both bright and learned; he is also a seasoned prankster. As good-spirited as Tom is, he is not as morally mature as Huck, and his impracticality endangers himself and others, especially Jim. Tom is also self-indulgent, even selfish. Despite his shortcomings, however, Tom exerts a powerful influence on Huck.

Tom Sawyer Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn quotes below are all either spoken by Tom Sawyer or refer to Tom Sawyer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published in 1994.
Chapter 1 Quotes

You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Tom Sawyer
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Huckleberry Finn introduces himself to us at the beginning of the novel that bears his name. Huck really does appear as a character in a book called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and his mentioning the fact makes Huck all the more real to us as readers. He's more than just a character on the page – he's someone who exists outside of the books he's in. Huck's reality is also brought home to us by his speech, which is not in "literary language but firmly cast in the American vernacular, the way people really speak. It is at once conversational, gritty, and lilting. 

This quote also introduces the ideas of truth in the novel. What does it mean to tell the truth? Is there such a thing as a noble lie? Huck himself lies all the time, sometimes just to keep in practice! In the Southern pre-Civil War society in which Huck lives, dangerous opinions and beliefs are often presented dogmatically as truths, most centrally that blacks like Jim are inferior to whites. In such a society, stretching the truth and telling lies are tools Huck uses to be free – just as Twain writes books about things that aren't factually true, but which nonetheless promote human freedom. Huck's probably pretty tolerant of the stretchers Mark Twain told when writing his book. 

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Chapter 33 Quotes

I’m bound to say Tom Sawyer fell, considerable, in my estimation. Only I couldn’t believe it. Tom Sawyer a nigger stealer!

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Tom Sawyer
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

Huck and Tom meet up near the Phelps's farm and, after hearing that Huck plans to rescue Jim, Tom agrees to join in the attempt. Huck thinks less of Tom for helping him, because doing so flies in the face of the racist, slaveholding values of their society.

This passage is troubling. Huck has just decided to save Jim, society be damned, and then he judges Tom's decision to help him from the absurd perspective of the society he's just cast off. Can Huck really be so divided in his soul that he can decide to rescue Jim, only to judge someone negatively for doing the same? This is either a considerable regression on Huck's part, a moment of reflexive thinking that doesn't reflect how he really feels, an irony on Huck's part, or a mistake on the author's. The second of these interpretations is perhaps most charitable to the novel (though many critics would argue that this final section of the novel is its weakest, and that Twain in fact did make a mistake in this entire escapade with Huck and Tom trying to free Jim).

Tom's reasons for joining the rescue attempt are very different from Huck's. Huck loves Jim. Tom thinks it would be a fun adventure to play rescue. This suggests Tom's childishness, but something more troubling. Tom treats himself like the hero of a drama and Jim like a prop. This is just a refinement of how his society sees Jim as an object to be used by whites.

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Tom Sawyer Character Timeline in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The timeline below shows where the character Tom Sawyer appears in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Huck introduces himself as a character from Mark Twain’s earlier novel, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” Huck says that, while the book is mostly true, Twain told some “stretchers,” or... (full context)
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...nothing of this so as not to further upset her. He asks Miss Watson whether Tom Sawyer is going to Heaven or Hell. When Miss Watson says he’s going to Hell,... (full context)
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...Soon afterward, he hears a meowing outside. Huck meows back and goes outside, to find Tom Sawyer waiting for him. (full context)
Chapter 2
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As Huck and Tom Sawyer sneak away from the Widow Douglas’s house, Huck trips and makes a noise. One... (full context)
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Despite Huck’s protests, Tom takes some candles from the Widow Douglas’s kitchen, leaving five cents in payment, and then... (full context)
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Tom and Huck meet up with some other boys, and, after a short excursion, end up... (full context)
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The members of Tom Sawyer’s Gang debate what their purpose will be. Tom declares that the Gang’s purpose is... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Huck turns to thinking about Tom Sawyer’s Gang. They played robber for about a month, before all the boys, including Huck,... (full context)
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One time, Huck goes on to recount, Tom summoned the Gang and told them about a large group of Spanish merchants and “A-rabs”... (full context)
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After calling Huck a “numskull” for thinking that the Sunday school picnic was just that, Tom explains to Huck that a magician could call up genies to aid them in their... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...its throat so that its blood covers the dirt floor of the cabin. Huck wishes Tom could join him to “throw in the fancy touches.” Huck then bloodies the ax, sticks... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...ferry as it passes. Many people he knows are onboard, including Pap, Judge Thatcher, and Tom Sawyer, all of whom are talking about Huck’s “murder.” The captain tells them to scan... (full context)
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...Huck then explains his escape to Jim, who praises the plan as being worthy of Tom Sawyer himself. In turn, Huck asks Jim how he came to be on Jackson’s Island.... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...wrecked steamboat. Huck wants to board it and have an “adventure,” in the spirit of Tom Sawyer, but Jim “was dead against it.” Huck, however, convinces a reluctant Jim to go... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Huck considers writing a letter to Tom Sawyer asking him to tell Miss Watson that Jim is at the Phelps’ farm so... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...Huck, thinking that he is none other than her expected guest and nephew…a boy named Tom. Huck plays along. (full context)
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...Silas, enters the room. Aunt Sally hides Huck behind a bed and pretends as though “Tom” hasn’t arrived yet. But Aunt Sally is playing a trick on Uncle Silas: while he’s... (full context)
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Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas question Huck, thinking him Tom, about their relatives, and Huck answers their questions with ease. As they’re talking, Huck hears... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...Huck walks to town, he sees a wagon coming toward him, riding in which is Tom Sawyer. Huck stops the wagon, but Tom is afraid of Huck, thinking him a ghost.... (full context)
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Huck returns to the Phelps’ too quickly after meeting Tom, but Uncle Silas, whom Huck considers the “innocentest, best old soul,” and who is not... (full context)
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Over dinner, Tom chats and chats, lying very fluently, and at one point he goes so far as... (full context)
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...show must be the duke and king’s, sneaks out of the house at night with Tom to warn the con men. As they’re walking, Huck sees a mob with the duke... (full context)
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As he and Tom walk back to the farm, Huck feels humble and somehow to blame for the duke... (full context)
Chapter 34
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Tom deduces that Jim must be imprisoned in a hunt on the Phelps’ property, based on... (full context)
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Huck suggests that he and Tom bring up the raft, steal the key to Jim’s hut, and rescue Jim in the... (full context)
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Huck and Tom survey the Phelps’ farm and think of ways to bust Jim out of the hut.... (full context)
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Jim greets Huck and Tom by name, which startles Nat. He asks how it is that Jim knows who the... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Tom is dissatisfied that liberating Jim will be so easy. He wishes there were guards to... (full context)
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Tom also proposes that he and Huck make Jim a rope ladder by tearing and tying... (full context)
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Tom also says that Huck should steal a shirt off the clothesline, so that Jim can... (full context)
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...steals things to give Jim, as well as a watermelon from the slave’s watermelon patch. Tom, however, tells Huck that he can only steal what he needs to help set Jim... (full context)
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Finally, Tom tells Huck that they need to steal tools to dig Jim out of the hut... (full context)
Chapter 36
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In the night, Huck and Tom begin digging with their knives to rescue Jim, but after a while are tired, blistered,... (full context)
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The next day, Huck and Tom steal a spoon and candlestick from the house for Jim to use as pens, as... (full context)
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...with him, and that Aunt Sally does likewise to make sure he’s comfortable. This gives Tom an idea: he wants to trick Nat, the slave who brings Jim food, into bringing... (full context)
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...Jim’s hut. When Nat sees the dogs, he almost faints, thinking that witches are responsible. Tom tells Nat that, to appease the witches, he should make “a witch-pie.” Nat says he... (full context)
Chapter 37
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Tom and Huck get what they need to bake the witch-pie. Afterwards, the boys go down... (full context)
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Uncle Silas finds the nail in his hat but doesn’t mention it. Tom recognizes that Uncle Silas has helped him and Huck conceal their plan to help Jim... (full context)
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Huck and Tom steal another spoon, but pretend that Aunt Sally miscounted how many there were to cover... (full context)
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After a lot of trouble and experimentation, Tom and Huck bake the witch-pie, which is basically a crust under which is hidden a... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Tom insists that Jim make an inscription with his coat of arms on the wall of... (full context)
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Tom changes his mind. Jim can’t carve inscriptions onto the wooden walls of his hut; he... (full context)
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When they have the grindstone halfway home, Tom and Huck realize that they can’t roll it all the way without help, because it... (full context)
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...Jim to his bed, the boys are ready to go to sleep. But before leaving Tom asks Jim if he could bring some spiders, rats, and snakes into Jim’s hut, so... (full context)
Chapter 39
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Jim is agitated by the creatures that Tom and Huck introduce to his hut. He says that there isn’t hardly any room for... (full context)
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After all preparations are completed, Tom says that he and Huck need to write an anonymous letter to warn the Phelpses... (full context)
Chapter 40
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The Phelps family is troubled and anxious after receiving the anonymous letter Tom wrote. Tom and Huck are sent to bed early, where they get ready to take... (full context)
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...with guns. Huck wishes Aunt Sally would get through with him so he can tell Tom about the farmers and commence rescuing Jim before it’s too late. Aunt Sally questions Huck,... (full context)
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Huck hurries to meet Tom inside Jim’s hut to tell him about the farmers. Tom is elated, but assures Huck... (full context)
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...and at last arrive at their raft. Everybody’s glad to be safe and free, especially Tom, because he had the honor of being shot in the calf of his leg. He... (full context)
Chapter 41
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Huck fetches a nice old doctor, telling him that Tom is his brother and that, while the two were out hunting, Tom had a bad... (full context)
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The doctor paddles off in a canoe to the raft where Tom is, but the canoe can only carry one person, so Huck is forced to stay... (full context)
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...also reason must have stolen things from the Phelps house. Soon, Aunt Sally wonders why Tom and Huck weren’t in their room that morning. Huck gets up, thinks about it, and... (full context)
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Aunt Sally grows increasingly worried that “Sid” (i.e., Tom) hasn’t come home yet. Huck volunteers to fetch him, but Aunt Sally tells him he’ll... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...next morning, as Huck and the Phelpses sit around the breakfast table, Aunt Sally sees Tom on a mattress along with the doctor, Jim with his hands tied, and a bunch... (full context)
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...cuss at Jim and strike him and put him back in the cabin enchained, but Tom’s doctor tells them they shouldn’t be rougher with Jim than they have to be, because... (full context)
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Tom begins to recover, and comes fully to as Aunt Sally and Huck sit at his... (full context)
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As Tom is speaking, he notices that Aunt Polly, his guardian, has come in, much to Aunt... (full context)
Chapter 43
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When Huck catches Tom in private, he asks Tom what his plan was if they had successfully escaped with... (full context)
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Jim is unchained, and the Phelpses and Aunt Polly, upon learning how Jim helped Tom, take very good care of the newly freed man. Tom also gives Jim forty dollars... (full context)
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Tom suggests that he and Huck and Jim travel to the Territory for adventure, but Huck... (full context)
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Eventually, Tom heals completely. Huck is glad he doesn’t have anything more to write about, because, he... (full context)