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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by Mark Twain

The Supernatural Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West at the period of this story -- that is to say, thirty or forty years ago. (P.2)

There must be some common element to the superstitions discussed in the book that appeals to both groups; at one point Tom and Huck discuss a particular belief that has been passed on by a slave.

Quote #2

"Say -- what is dead cats good for, Huck?"

"Good for? Cure warts with."

"No! Is that so? I know something that's better."

"I bet you don't. What is it?"

"Why, spunk-water."

"Spunk-water! I wouldn't give a dern for spunk-water." (6.57-61)

Superstitions function as a kind of street smarts, a way for kids, in this case Tom and Huck, to demonstrate their knowledge.

Quote #3

Old beams began to crack mysteriously. The stairs creaked faintly. Evidently spirits were abroad. A measured, muffled snore issued from Aunt Polly's chamber. And now the tiresome chirping of a cricket that no human ingenuity could locate, began. Next the ghastly ticking of a deathwatch in the wall at the bed's head made Tom shudder -- it meant that somebody's days were numbered. (4.1)

Tom's beliefs, in this case in something called a "deathwatch," seem to come from some combination of overactive imagination and a desire to make sense of the unknown.

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