Study Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 12

By Mark Twain

Chapter 12

  • Though he's still scared to death of Injun Joe, Tom's mind is weighed down by another matter: Becky Thatcher has stopped coming to school.
  • Fearing that Becky has died, he sinks into a depression.
  • Aunt Polly attempts to help Tom by prescribing all sorts of kooky cures, diets, treatments, and medicines. None of them work, of course.
  • She decides to try some new thing called "Pain Killer" – pretty scary, no? – and she finally gets results. Well, sort of. Tom is really just pretending.
  • He's decided to pick himself up; he merely puts the "Pain Killer" into a crack in the floor every time it's offered.
  • Once, just before he's about to get rid of it, Peter, the family cat, shows interest in the stuff.
  • Tom feeds it to Peter, and the cat immediately begins bouncing off the walls, making a mess of the living room.
  • Aunt Polly, ever suspicious, spies the medicine spoon underneath the bed, and figures out what's happened.
  • When she hits Tom over the head with her thimble, Tom chews her out for forcing all her crazy cures upon him.
  • Aunt Polly feels bad, and apologizes to Tom.
  • Tom runs off to school and waits for Becky to appear. At the last moment, when he is just about to give up hope, she passes into the schoolyard. She is not pleased with Tom, or the way he's showing off. She gives him a piece of her mind before going inside. Tom, crushed, runs away.