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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 38: Here a Captive Heart Busted
Tom insists that Jim should leave messages on the walls of the prison and writes a “mournful inscription” for Jim. When Jim tells Tom that he cannot write, Tom offers to block them for him so that he can just write over the letters. A fresh idea strikes Tom when he remembers that in the old prison dungeons, there were only stones; therefore, Jim’s message must be on a stone. He remembers seeing a grindstone and brings it to the cabin for Jim.
Tom continues to instruct Jim in what he should do as a prisoner. The humiliation is getting well beyond the point of having any humor. It is clear that Twain is showing how completely dehumanizing slavery can be, when even those who are trying to free a slave abuse him.