What are the steps taken in Tom's escape plan for Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom's escape plan reads like a litany of adventure stories. His initial plan undergoes considerable revisions and additions as time goes on, becoming comically elaborate. 

While Huck suggested carrying out the escape in one night, Tom insists on building up to the escape for effect.

His plan ends up including the following elements:

  • Jim must endure rats in his cell. 
  • Jim must endure snakes in his cell. 
  • Jim must endure spiders in his cell. 
  • Jim must write messages in blood on a stolen shirt. 
  • A rope ladder must be secretly delivered to Jim inside a pie. 
  • Tools must be fashioned out of make-shift materials, then used to cut the bed leg in half (though the bed lifts easily off the ground). 
  • Warning signs and letters must be left for the Phelps family. 
  • Some of the warnings must be delivered by Tom and Huck dressed up in stolen clothing (sometimes women's clothing).
  • The escape must take place at night. 
  • A dummy must be left in Jim's place in the cell. 
  • The escape will end with Jim, Huck and Tom taking the raft down to the mouth of the Mississippi River. 

All of these devices are included at Tom's insistence because they are necessary for the "adventure" of the escape.

Neither Huck nor Jim approve of Tom's "adventures," although they feel compelled to submit to his authority in such matters.

When Huck points out that some of them are not necessary to secure Jim's freedom, Tom chastises Huck for his lack of knowledge concerning adventures. 

Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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