Chapter 23 Notes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 23

The trial of Muff Potter is about to begin. Tom feels guilty for hiding the truth. He and Huck both agree that they feel sad that Muff Potter will be found guilty and hang, because he has done nice things for them in the past. That night, they go to the jail and give Potter some tobacco. Potter thanks them, saying that they are the only people who are nice to him anymore. Once the trial is underway, the boys avoid each other, but both hope to hear some news. By the second day, everyone is convinced that Injun Joe is telling the truth and that Potter is guilty.

That night, Tom is out very late, and sneaks in the window to go to bed. It takes a long time for him to fall asleep. In the morning, the entire town goes to the courthouse for the trial. Some witnesses testify about Potter's knife. Potter's lawyer asks them no questions. The crowd is confused at the lack of effort. Once the prosecutor rests his case, however, Potter's lawyer makes a bold statement.

"'Your honor, in our remarks at the opening of this trial, we foreshadowed our purpose to prove that our client did this fearful deed while under the influence of a blind and irresponsible delirium produced by drink. We have changed our mind. We shall not offer that plea.' [Then to the clerk:] 'Call Thomas Sawyer!'" Chapter 23, pg. 139

Everyone is confused, including Potter. Tom takes the stand and the lawyer questions him. Tom sees Injun Joe in the crowd, and is very scared, but he tells the whole story of being in the graveyard the night of the murder, without saying that Huck was there as well. As he tells the crowd about the actual events of the murder, Injun Joe jumps up and runs out of the room before anyone can catch him.

Topic Tracking: Growing Up 11

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