Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 534
On Monday morning, Tom is very unhappy. The weekend is over, and he is feeling daunted by the prospect of a whole week of sitting still. He lies in bed thinking that it would be nice to stay home sick. He tries to convince himself he has colic, but it does not work. He feels hopeful about the pain from a loose tooth, but then he realizes that Aunt Polly will pull it out if he complains. Eventually he remembers that he has a sore toe. This seems a likely excuse, and he begins to wail in pain.
Tom lies in bed clutching his toe and howling. He begs Sid not to tell Aunt Polly that he is unwell. This frightens Sid, who fetches Aunt Polly, who comes running to see what is wrong. Tom shouts, “My sore toe’s mortified!” Aunt Polly roars with laughter, and Tom is so disconcerted that he accidentally mentions his loose tooth. Aunt Polly promptly ties the tooth to the bedpost and shoves a brand from the fire in Tom’s face. This makes him jump back, and the tooth stays behind, swinging on the string.
Tom does not get to stay home from school, but the day starts out relatively well. The new gap in his teeth allows him to spit “in a new and admirable way,” thus gaining him the respect of his peers. On the walk to school, Tom sees Huckleberry Finn, the son of the town drunk. All the mothers in town hate Huck and consider him dangerous. All the boys in town admire him and play with him every chance they get. Huck dresses in men’s cast-off clothes, which hang fluttering around him. He sleeps on doorsteps, never washes, never goes to school, and swears better than anyone else in town. In other words, he lives the perfect life.
Tom and Huck chat about the best methods for removing warts. Huck is planning to try the dead cat method, which involves saying complicated oaths over a new grave at midnight. Tom asks to go along, and Huck promises to bring him along. Then, before Tom goes on to school, he and Huck make a trade: a live tick for Tom’s tooth.
A few minutes later, Tom arrives late to school. He almost tells a lie about why he is tardy, but then he notices the beautiful new girl. The seat next to her is the only empty spot on the girls’ side of the room. Tom admits that he was talking with Huckleberry Finn, and the whole room goes quiet with shock. The teacher whips Tom and sends him to sit with the girls. Tom goes happily to sit by the new girl, whose name turns out to be Becky Thatcher. He gives her a peach and draws her a picture, which she admires even though it is terrible. He offers to give her a drawing lesson at lunch, and she agrees. At this point, the teacher pulls Tom from his seat and marches him back to the boys’ side of the room. Tom is so excited about his new friendship with Becky that he does not mind this a bit.
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