The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Questions and Answers
by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Tom get Huck to go back to the Widow in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,390 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Tom's being very cunning here, as always. He knows that the only way he's ever going to get Huck to go back to the Widow Douglas is by making an appeal to his sense of adventure. Running away from home is all very well and good if you want to be a pirate, but it's no good for being a robber. Tom has clearly had his vivid imagination fired up by tales of so-called gentleman thieves. These men are a cut above the kind of cutthroats and scurvy dogs who sail aboard pirate ships, and Tom wants to be a part of their exclusive company.

Boys of that age tend to feel the need to be part of a gang—and the more exclusive the gang, the better. If Huck wants to join up with Tom's gang of robbers, he's going to have to pursue a respectable, civilized lifestyle, at least during the daytime.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

dymatsuoka eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write3,287 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Math

Tom tries to talk Huck into going back to the Widow by telling him that he and the gang are going to become robbers, and if Huck isn't "respectable", he will not be allowed into the gang.  Tom convinces Huck that, unlike pirates, robbers have a more "high-toned" reputation, and that if Huck were allowed to join he would reflect badly upon the whole operation.  All of Tom's other appeals have fallen on deaf ears; although he likes the Widow and feels badly about causing her trouble, Huck is firm in his insistence that the civilized life is something he can't stand.  It is only when he realizes that if he doesn't conform, he will be left out of Tom's great future adventures, that he decides he will "stick to the widder till (he) rot(s)", if only he is allowed to remain in the gang and "git(s) to be a reg'lar ripper of a robber" (Chapter XXXV).

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial