Feeling misunderstood, Tom begins to cry. Joe Harper comes along, upset because his mother accused him of stealing cream. Tom convinces Joe to run away with him. They track down Huck and agree to meet that night to head to Jackson's Island.
Feeling they have no place in a cruel and punishing world of adults, they boys plan a more lasting escape than an afternoon's several hours of play. Tom's idea of running away as a slighted lover rings of a tale of romantic heroism that he might have read about in a book.
At midnight, "Tom Sawyer the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main", "Huck Finn the Red-Handed", and "Joe Harper the Terror of the Seas" meet up with food and other provisions they've stolen from home, and set off to Jackson Island on their raft, which they pretend is a sailing ship.
Tom and Joe are intent on breaking the law like outcasts from society, starting with being out after midnight and stealing food and other tools of survival, like cooking equipment. For Huck these are not unusual acts. They are his way of life,
On the island they set a campfire, cook dinner, and decide to sleep in the open air, like "outlaws". Joe had originally wanted to be a hermit, but Tom insists on being pirates.
Tom is always competitive. Even with his friends, he vies to be the chief decision-maker by proving himself the cleverest at knowing all types of outcasts.
As they fall asleep, Tom and Joe feel guilty about having stolen provisions from home. The secretly say their prayers to ask God's forgiveness.
Tom and Joe each realize that taking food from home was stealing, not just "hooking." This is the first time in the novel in which Tom tries to atone for one of his sins by acting as an adult might, in this case by praying. Fearful at being away from home, he turns to superstition—which is how Twain views religious rituals—to right an act of wrongdoing. He and Joe are not really so rebellious, evidently, and long to be accepted as upright society members some day. Huck doesn't worry about the stolen goods, just as he doesn't want to someday be another dutiful adult of St. Petersburg society.