Chapter 31 Notes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 31

This chapter goes back to Tom and Becky in McDougal's cave the day of the picnic. Tom and Becky, during the fun, get tired of playing hide-and-seek and begin to drift away from the rest of the group, looking at the places where other kids have burned their names on the walls of the cave with candle smoke. Soon, they are so involved in wandering, they don't notice that the walls no longer have any writing. They burn their own names on the wall and keep moving, making occasional smoke marks to mark their path, until they are swarmed by bats. Tom rushes Becky out of the room, and they end up by a giant underground lake. They sit at the edge of the lake and suddenly realize how quiet it is. They haven't heard any of the other children in a very long time. Becky starts to get worried, and they decide to go back. Tom suggests that they go a different route, to avoid the bats. They begin looking for a new way back, but as they go, Tom gets more and more discouraged, and they begin to realize that have a problem. Tom begins to shout, but no one responds. They begin to backtrack, but they realize they have left no marks to find their way back. They are utterly, hopelessly lost.

Becky begins to cry. Tom comforts her, and begins to blame himself. They begin to wander aimlessly. Tom blows out Becky's candle to conserve their light source. After some time, they are exhausted and Becky falls asleep. She awakes with a little more energy, and they continue. They have no idea how long they have been in the cave. They find a spring and drink some water. Becky takes the cake she has saved from the picnic, which she calls their "wedding-cake," and they eat it. Afterwards, Tom confesses that they are down to their last bit of candle, and can go no further. Becky is scared and cries some more, but Tom tries to encourage her by telling her they will send people to look as soon as they're missed. Becky realizes that her mother doesn't expect her home until the next morning, and they begin to get very worried. The last bit of candle goes out, and they are left in the dark.

Many hours pass. They don't know what day it is, and they are hungry. Suddenly, Tom hears something like a shout. He grabs Becky and leads her to the sound, finding his way in the dark by feeling the walls of the cave. They reach a large pit and cannot cross. The shouts seem to be getting further away, so they hopelessly return to the spring.

Tom decides to pass the time carefully exploring, and uses his kite string as a guide so he will be able to keep track of where they have gone. He leads Becky by the hand down a small passage. As they reach the end, Tom sees a hand holding a candle close by. He shouts, and suddenly sees the owner of the hand: Injun Joe. Joe turns and runs, not knowing who shouted. Tom, not wanting to risk encountering Injun Joe, decides they should return to the spring, and doesn't tell Becky what he saw. After sleeping again, they are so tired and upset that Tom decides to risk Injun Joe. Becky is very weak, and tells Tom to go without her and return if he finds anything, or when it is time to die. Tom kisses her and leaves, promising to return.

Topic Tracking: Growing Up 14

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