Chapter 12 Notes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 12

Tom has new worries: Becky is sick, and has stopped attending school. He becomes depressed and loses interest in games or war or piracy.

Topic Tracking: Imagination 4

Aunt Polly, concerned, begins to give Tom various remedies to cure his sadness. She is a strong believer in the "patent medicines" sold in health magazines.

"All the 'rot' they [health magazines] contained about ventilation, and how to go to bed, and how to get up, and what to eat, and what to drink, and how much exercise to take, and what frame of mind to keep one's self in, and what sort of clothing to wear, was all gospel to her, and she never observed that her health-journals of the current month customarily upset everything they had recommended the month before." Chapter 12, pg. 75

Topic Tracking: Superstition 6

She starts giving Tom "Pain-killer," a strong liquid that tastes like fire. Tom's indifference is temporarily cured by his first dose. Tom decides that he will start pretending to like Pain-killer to keep Aunt Polly from trying anything new. One morning, the cat begins to beg for a taste. Tom gives him some. The cat goes wild, wailing, running into things, and then jumping out the window. Aunt Polly, angry, asks Tom why he gave the cat Pain-killer. Tom tells her he felt bad for the cat for not having an Aunt. "'Because if he'd 'a' had one she'd 'a' burnt him out herself! She'd 'a' roasted his bowels out of him 'thout any more feeling than if he was a human!'" Chapter 12, pg. 78 Hearing this, Aunt Polly realizes how awful the Pain-killer must be. She tells Tom he doesn't have to take it anymore, and sends him off to school.

Tom gets to school early and stands by the gate instead of playing with his friends. He tries to get Jeff Thatcher to tell him about Becky without asking about her, but Jeff doesn't get any of Tom's hints. Eventually, he gives up and goes to sit down in the schoolhouse, but at that moment Becky arrives in the yard. Tom runs around the yard, whooping and jumping around to get her to notice him, but she turns away from him, calling him a show-off. Tom, embarrassed, sneaks off.

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