In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, why does Injun Joe want to take revenge on the Widow and how?

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eabeytia's profile pic

eabeytia | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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In the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the main antagonist, Injun Joe, who is half Native American and half white, seeks revenge on the Widow Douglas because he is physically punished and humiliated in front of the town by her husband, Mr. Douglas, the town magistrate, when Mr. Douglas uses a riding crop to horsewhip Injun Joe for his crime of vagrancy.

These actions cause Injun Joe to become angry and vengeful. However, Injun Joe is unable to exact his revenge on Mr. Douglas because Mr. Douglas later dies, which is why Injun Joe then decides to target the Widow Douglas instead.

So, because Injun Joe can no longer seek revenge against Mr. Douglas, Injun Joe decides to take revenge on the Widow Douglas by plotting to mutilate her by cutting up her face.

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dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Injun Joe wants to take revenge on the Widow Douglas because when her husband was alive he was "rough" on him.  A justice of the peace, the Widow's husband had had Injun Joe arrested for vagrancy, but the worst part of it was that he had had him  "horsewhipped...with all the town looking on".  The humiliation of this punishment has left Injun Joe bitter, and he resolves to take revenge on the Widow, since her husband "took advantage of (him) and died".  With cold-blooded calculation, Injun Joe says that when you get revenge on a woman, you don't kill her, you "go for her looks".  He plans a grisly mutilation - he will "slit her nostrils (and) notch her ears like a sow" (Chapter XXIX).

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