The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


Mark Twain

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

News of the murder speeds through town. The children are given the rest of the day off. The Sheriff orders a search for Muff Potter after Muff's knife is found at the scene.
Though Tom's bad behavior never earns him a free pass from school, oddly enough, Injun Joe's does.
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Tom heads to the crime scene. When Muff arrives, the crowd surrounds him. He swears he's innocent, but Injun Joe twice says he witnessed Muff murder Dr. Robinson. Injun Joe even helps carry the body away. Tom and Huck are stunned, and grow even more afraid of him.
Injun Joe's lies are so thorough that he doesn't betray guilt even when handling the body of his victim. Is Injun Joe like an adult version of Tom, who also tells repeated lies, often without remorse? The answer lies in the seriousness of the sins being committed, perhaps, which suggests that the world of good and bad is not black and white, but nuanced.
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His conscience plagued by his knowledge of Muff's innocence and Injun Joe's guilt, Tom sleeps fitfully and doesn't enjoy playing. He only feels better when he drops off presents to Muff through his jail cell window.
While Tom is usually able to quickly put his misdeeds behind him, his conscience will not let him rest about allowing Muff to go to trial for murder.
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Despite the fact that his presence at the scene of the murder implicates Injun Joe in the crime of grave-robbing, Injun Joe does not confess to it during his eye-witness account, and the villagers allow him to go without prosecution.
The villagers know that Injun Joe has committed a crime. Like Tom and Huck, they don't pursue the matter because they are afraid of his violent nature.
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