Study Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 11

By Mark Twain

Chapter 11

  • By noon, news of the murder has spread; the bloody knife has been found in the woods and recognized to be Muff Potter's; someone claims to have seen Muff Potter washing himself in the creek; and search parties have been sent out. The townspeople, curious, head toward the graveyard.
  • Tom follows the crowd and finds Huckleberry Finn already there, watching.
  • Just as Tom sees Injun Joe standing not too far away from him, Muff Potter is spotted in the distance.
  • The Sheriff shows up, leading Potter by the arm, and Potter swears that he didn't do it, and then asks Injun Joe to back him up.
  • Injun Joe sells Muff out, and the townspeople never even suspect him.
  • Tom's fear of Injun Joe and the burden of keeping the secret give him nightmares for the rest of the week.
  • One day at breakfast, Sid tells everyone that Tom talks about the murder in his sleep, and Tom fears that he's going to be outed until Aunt Polly and Mary says that they've been affected in the same way.
  • Tom is so scared that he complains of a toothache and ties his jaw shut every night in order to stop himself from talking.
  • Eventually he grows tired of the ruse, but he can't help but feel depressed.
  • He takes to sneaking little treats to Muff Potter through the bars of his cell in order to ease his conscience.
  • The townsfolk want to tar and feather Injun Joe for stealing the body – he can't totally fool them – but nobody is willing to take him on; he has been careful not to mention the robbery when talking about the fight.