Summary and Analysis
After discovering that Injun Joe has been locked in the cave, a large party of townspeople go to McDougal's cave to search for him. Tom is in the forefront of the party. At the closed door of the cave, they find Injun Joe's body with his "bowie-knife" close by. He had tried to cut through the door, and although he probably realized the futility of this endeavor, he kept cutting as something to do while he starved to death.
Although Tom feels sorry for Injun Joe's suffering, he also feels a great sense of relief and freedom from the fear that he has felt since Injun Joe escaped from the trial in which Tom testified against him.
Injun Joe's funeral is a festive occasion: People from all the neighboring towns come to witness it. The next day, Tom and Huck have a long talk. Huck then tells Tom all about his adventures on Cardiff Hill but says that he doesn't want his part in the events to be known because Injun Joe might have left friends who would enact revenge against Huck. Tom then announces that the treasure is somewhere in the cave. The boys make plans to retrieve it.
After gathering their supplies and "borrowing" a skiff from "a citizen who was absent," Tom leads Huck to the opening that he and Becky escaped from. The passageway is so concealed that Huck is standing almost on top of it and cannot see it.
After hours of digging and finding nothing, Tom remembers that the treasure is under the cross, so they dig again and soon find the treasure box, which is too heavy to carry. The boys divide the treasure into bags and then load their treasure into the skiff and return to the village. There Tom borrows a wagon, and the boys pull the treasure as far as the Welshman's house, where they stop to rest. The Welshman, Mr. Jones, comes out and helps them pull the old "metal" to the Widow's house where a party is in progress. Huck is fearful about going in, but Mr. Jones insists. Everyone of importance is at the Widow's house, and she takes the boys upstairs to the bedroom, instructs them to wash, and shows them new clothing to put on before they come downstairs.
Left alone, Huck's first impulse is to climb out the window. Sid appears and tells them that the Widow Douglas is giving the party for the Welshman (Mr. Jones) and his sons for saving her from Injun Joe and his companion. Sid explains that it is supposed to be a surprise party because the Welshman is going to reveal Huck's heroic actions in saving the Widow, but he maintains that everyone already knows about it. Tom is disgusted with Sid because he knows that Sid is the person who has told everyone and ruined the surprise, and he kicks him out and dares him to tell Aunt Polly.
At the party, the Welshman gives a little thank you speech and reveals that it was really Huck Finn who was responsible for saving Widow Douglas. The Widow tries to look surprised and tells Huck that she has already made plans for him to live with her, go to school, and eventually open up a small business for himself.
Tom Sawyer then blurts out the surprise of the evening: "Huck don't need [money]. Huck's rich." Thinking that everyone is laughing at him, Tom runs out the door, brings in the treasure, and pours it on the table, saying that half is his and half belongs to Huck. The spectacle of so much gold money lying on the table leaves everyone speechless. Tom explains how they came about the treasure, and when counted, it amounts to over twelve thousand dollars.
Upon the discovery on Injun Joe's body, the reader gets another glimpse into Tom's compassion. In spite of the horrors that Injun Joe had caused him, Tom's personality allows him to sympathize with Injun Joe's plight because Tom had been in the same situation: "Tom was touched, for he knew by his own experience how this wretch had suffered." It is Tom's human compassion even for this dreadful specimen of humanity that endears him to the reader.
The death of Injun Joe in Chapter 33 brings one significant part of the novel to an end. Injun Joe played an important part in Tom's growth, as well as Huck's. First, Tom and Huck witnessed the murder committed by Injun Joe. Until that point, for Tom at least, all adventures had been excitingly imaginative. The events in the graveyard mark his first real adventure. At the trial of Muff Potter, Tom matures enough to bring the truth to light and convict Injun Joe of murder, thus freeing the innocent Muff Potter. When Injun Joe reveals his plans to mutilate the Widow Douglas, Huck, who until that point has been primarily motivated by fear for his own life, puts that fear aside to save the Widow Douglas. As a result of Injun Joe's crimes, both boys have matured tremendously--Tom in his testimony and Huck in following Injun Joe to Cardiff Hill and thus saving the life of the Widow Douglas. In essence, Tom matures as a young man; Huck gains a place in the society, as signified by the Welshman's befriending him and the Widow taking him in.
Chapter 34 also prepares the way for a new life for Huck Finn. It is almost as though Twain had already conceived and thought out a novel dealing with the adventures of Huck Finn, a novel he would actually spend much of the next eight years writing.
lucifer matches These were the then newly invented friction matches with the standard phosphorus compound on top which could light by striking it on some solid material.
orgies Tom misuses the word to mean having a big Indian-type "pow-wow" or celebration.