The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by: Mark Twain

Chapters 30–32

Tom’s dramatic nature and active imagination have made him terribly afraid of Injun Joe, but we have every reason to believe that Injun Joe may be more afraid than Tom. Tom’s explanation for Injun Joe’s flight from him in the cave is that Injun Joe didn’t recognize him. Tom is convinced that Injun Joe wants to kill him for having testified at his trial, but it is likely that Injun Joe really doesn’t care too much about Tom. Rather, Injun Joe seems more concerned about his own fate.

Although Twain relates Tom and Becky’s three days in the cave from the points of view of Tom and Becky, he depicts their climactic escape from the cave from the point of view of the townspeople, who have been suffering while searching for three days. When Tom and Becky return, the town explodes in celebration, in a manner that parallels the boys’ return from Jackson’s Island earlier in the novel. In both cases, the town believes Tom to be dead, and in both cases, we see the children’s reappearance through the eyes of the community—the angle from which the suspense is greatest.