The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Cave Symbol Analysis

The Cave Symbol Icon
In the harrowing experience of surviving several days lost in MacDougal's Cave, Tom's proves his manhood. Like the island, the cave involves physical isolation from the village community. While Tom runs away to the island with dreams of personal glory as an outlaw, in the cave he acts wisely and resourcefully as Becky's male protector. Twain describes the experience in a realistic, unromantic style that speaks for the seriousness required of the adult behaviors Tom performs in rescuing Becky.
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The Cave Symbol Timeline in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Cave appears in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 30
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
Superstition, Fantasy, and Escape Theme Icon
...Tom is. The other children confess that the pair may well still be in the cave. (full context)
Chapter 31
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
Showing Off Theme Icon
Sentimentality and Realism Theme Icon
...to tell the story of what happened to Tom and Becky. They're playing in the cave along with their friends. They split off to explore a more distant part of the... (full context)
Chapter 32
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
Sentimentality and Realism Theme Icon
At the Thatchers' house, Tom tells of their time in the cave, adding self-aggrandizing embellishments. He explains how he finally found a way out when he saw... (full context)
Chapter 33
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
Judge Thatcher, Tom, and several boatloads of men immediately head to the cave's entrance. Removing its barrier, they find Injun Joe's dead body. Tom realizes he's relieved to... (full context)
Chapter 35
Boyhood Rebellion and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Hypocrisy of Adult Society Theme Icon
Showing Off Theme Icon
Judge Thatcher thinks highly of Tom for having rescued Becky from the cave. Becky has even told him about how Tom took her punishment at school. Judge Thatcher... (full context)