Why is Tom hit on the head by Aunt Polly in the book The Adventures of Tom Saywer by Mark Twain?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom is no stranger to whacks and lickin's in Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He gets plenty of punishment from his teacher at school and regularly avoids the outstretched hand of his Aunt Polly. But the "belting" from his aunt's "potent palm" wasn't a deserved one for the incident in Chapter 3. Although it was usually Tom stealing from the sugar bowl, this time it was his brother, Sid. But as Sid grasped the bowl, his "fingers slipped and the bowl dropped and broke. Tom was in ecstasies." However, Aunt Polly rarely caught Sid misbehaving, so she just assumed it was Tom. As he watched "the old lady... discharging lightnings of wrath from over the top of her spectacles," instead Tom was sent "sprawling." When Tom protested, Aunt Polly explained that the whack would count toward one of his unpunished crimes.