What reason do Tom and Huck each have for fearing they will go to the Devil and not to heaven?

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting question! In the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, superstition influences Tom and Huck. Consequently, the boys evaluate where they will go after they pass away.

Because of their superstitious beliefs, Tom and Huck fear that they will soon pass away. After Tom and Huck visit a graveyard, a stray dog howls nearby, which incites their superstitious-based conversation. Consequently, Tom and Huck begin discussing where they will go when they pass away. They both agree that they have done too many bad things to go to heaven.

According to Tom, he will not go to heaven. He states that he could have been better and more like Sid. He purposefully chose not to obey and be like Sid. As the text reveals, he believes that he will not go to heaven because he frequently is:

“playing hookey and doing everything a feller’s told NOT to do”

Huck also believes he will not go to heaven. In Huck’s mind, Tom has a much better chance of going to heaven than him. According to Huck,

“I reckon there ain’t no mistake ‘bout where I’LL go to. I been so wicked.”

Thus, both of the boys beliefs are impacted by superstition. After this event, they fear that they will go to hell due to their misbehaviors and wickedness.

Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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