Study Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 16

By Mark Twain

Chapter 16

  • After lunch, Tom, Huck, and Joe spend the evening hunting for turtle eggs, and feast on them for dinner and the next morning's breakfast.
  • From there, they have a schedule full of fun, gallivanting around, swimming, and roughhousing; they play marbles and swim, again, but by then they're all getting tired.
  • Tired, it turns out, of being on the island. Joe is especially worn out, and Huck isn't much better.
  • Tom does his best to keep their spirits up, suggesting that they go hunt for treasure or fish some more, or maybe swim. When none of this works he, the gentleman he is, takes to teasing Joe.
  • Tom gets Huck on his side, but even his support is half-hearted, and it's not too long before both Huck and Joe are ready for a full scale mutiny.
  • In desperation, Tom reveals his "secret," a little plan that's good enough to keep them from leaving.
  • After dinner, Tom decides he wants to learn how to smoke from Huck. He and Joe puff on a pipe for the first time and boast about how much they love it, how they could smoke all the time, etc. They then start feeling sick and go to "find Joe's knife," which, he has just noticed, is "lost."
  • After waiting for them an hour, Huck goes searching and finds them both asleep, looking sickly and pale.
  • That night they have a light dinner and go to bed.
  • Joe gets up in the middle of the night and wakes the others; the air is warm and stifling. Soon, lightning can be seen in the distance, and rain begins to fall.
  • The boys run from their camp to a tent they set up the first day.
  • They make it to the tent amid pouring rain and booming thunder. Things get worse and worse; they can hear trees cracking and falling in the distance, and the whole things ends with one big clatter of thunder and burst of lightning and torrent of raining.
  • After the storm passes over, Tom, Huck, and Joe go back to their camp, which they find absolutely destroyed; a huge sycamore had fallen right onto the spot where they once slept. Their fire, by chance, is not totally extinguished, and they set about making it larger.
  • After drying themselves off, have a bite to eat, and spend the rest of the evening talking; there isn't a single place dry enough for them to sleep on.
  • The next day they go back to their old regimen of marbles and horseplay, but they're all bored of that stuff by now, and Tom has to remind them, again, of "the secret."
  • They pretend to be Indians for a while, smoke the pipe, and have dinner.