Tom and Huck are heroes. The villagers listen closely to their every word, and people start searching haunted houses all over town for treasure.
Twain points out another weakness of small town folk: not thinking for themselves. The villagers adopt Tom and Huck's irrational beliefs now that they are esteemed men of the village.
Both the widow Douglas and Aunt Polly invest the boys' money. The boys are entitled to an allowance of a dollar each weekday and every other Sunday.
Money now has a hold over the boys' lives. It accrues interest on schedule as routinely as the school week starts each Monday. Tom enjoys his new wealth, though, suggesting that routines no longer bother him so much.
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 believes Tom's admirable character makes him fit to be a lawyer.
Judge Thatcher is a man valued for his ethical insight. Yet, like the rest of the villagers, he chooses to overlook the grave danger Tom placed his daughter in, as well as his constant fibbing. That the judge is preparing Tom for a legal career suggests that Tom's charming mischief will continue to serve him better than perfect behavior might.
Huck is deeply unhappy in the widow's care, as she teaches him manners and takes him to church. After three weeks he runs away. Tom finds him in an empty hogshead behind the abandoned slaughterhouse. Huck explains that since being rich involves so much worrying, he'd rather Tom take his share of the treasure. Tom insists that Huck has to join society.
Huck is reluctant to conform to adult standards of behavior that make little sense to him. Tom, on the other hand, will likely become another adult guilty of daily, if harmless hypocrisies. Twain does not weigh in favor of either character, instead using their examples to depict different models of adulthood.
When Huck complains that the treasure interrupted their plans to be robbers, Tom tells him they can still have a gang. But Huck has to return to living with the widow, for Tom's gang can't have any disrespectable characters. Huck agrees. They plan to meet up at midnight for an initiation involving swearing on a coffin signed in blood.
There's a sadness to the two friend's divergence on how to grow up, but they bond in the end by engaging once more in their old, fantastical games. The two won't see eye to eye on all matters, but Huck agrees to Tom's plan because he prioritizes the value of friendship, indicating that some of the wisdom of boyhood will prevail in their future lives.