Study Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 13

By Mark Twain

Chapter 13

  • Tom finds himself at the end of his rope. He decides, once and for all, to be a criminal.
  • As he is walking away from the school house, from the town, from society, he begins to cry.
  • As luck should have it, he runs into his buddy Joe Harper, who seems to be in a similar state of mind. Joe, it seems, has just been whipped by his mother for drinking some cream, and has decided to leave his old life behind.
  • The boys decide to be companions for life, and discuss possible plans. Joe wants to become a hermit, but Tom quickly convinces him that piracy is the way to go.
  • They decide to go live on Jackson's Island, a little piece of land in the middle of the Mississippi.
  • They find Huck and get him to join their crew, then set about letting everyone know that soon the town will "hear something" (13.6).
  • That night, Tom, Joe, and Huck meet up, each bringing with them some stolen booty: a boiled ham, some bacon, and various other supplies.
  • They steal a small raft and make the short trip over to the island.
  • Once there, they set up camp, and get down to discussing the particulars of piracy – which Tom claims to know all about. Pirates, he tells his companions, take ships, steal money and bury it, kill people, etc. But they're nice enough; he and Joe agree to just kidnap women and not kill them.
  • When they lie down to sleep, Tom and Joe are filled with guilt, for running away, and for stealing. They say their prayers – in order that they might not be struck down by divine lightning – and resolve never to steal as long as they're pirates.