The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Questions and Answers
by Mark Twain

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Give two reasons why Tom says they don't find treasure like they should in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After digging away fruitlessly for what seems like an eternity, Tom and Huck finally seem to have realized why they still haven't found any buried treasure: it's all in the timing. Digging during the daylight hours is a waste of time, because according to Tom, you have to dig in the shadow of the tree's limb at midnight. Whether we can accept that Tom knows what he's talking about is a moot point. After all, he just told Huck that maybe witches were putting the hex on them even though, as Huck points out, witches don't have any power during the day time.

But even when they come back at midnight, they still can't find the treasure. And once again, it's the timing that's the problem. The boys are either too late or too early; they can never be there at just the right time. To make matters worse, Huck reckons there are lots of ghosts and witches lurking around, and it's really creeping him out.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I wonder if you might be talking about the part in Chapter 25 when Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are digging for buried treasure.  They are wondering why they can't find any and they come up with a few different ideas as to why they are not succeeding.

First, Tom says that he figures that witches must be preventing them from finding the treasure.  But Huck points out that witches have no power in the daytime.

So then Tom has another idea.  He realizes that they have to be digging under the point where the shadow of the branch falls at midnight.   So they are just digging blindly at this point and should come back at midnight instead.

So that leads to the third idea.  When they come back at night and still don't find any treasure, Tom decides that they must have gotten the time wrong.  They were not exact enough (they might have been a bit before or after midnight) and so they are digging in the wrong place once again.

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