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STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 

Quick/Fast Review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of a boy living on the Mississippi River during the 1840's. It relates the experiences of Huck and Jim, a runaway slave. The book is a continuation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and recaptures its playful, lighthearted spirit.

The book begins with Huck living with Widow Douglas who is trying to "sivilize" him. He finds this lifestyle terribly constricting but he tries to make the best of the situation. The narrative takes a darker tone with the return of Pap Finn, Huck's drunken father. A judge rejects Judge Thatcher and the Widow Douglas' attempt to be appointed Huck's legal guardian, and Pap goes on a drinking binge to celebrate his victory. Pap excepts to get Huck's entire fortune and takes Huck to a deserted cabin three miles upriver, to keep a close eye on him. Huck is unhappy, fakes his own death, and escapes in a canoe to Jackson's Island.

On his third day on the island, Huck meets Jim, a black boy, whom he knows from Hannibal. It turns out that Jim has run away from his master, to seek his freedom. The two boys get along very well and forge a strong friendship. After several weeks, Huck gets word that the island is about to be searched for Jim. The two pack up some things, and head down the river on a raft. Their plan is to reach Cairo, Illinois, where they will take a steamboat up the Ohio River to the free states.

Their attempts are thwarted by poor weather conditions and they soon discover that they have passed the small town of Cairo in the fog. The two boys change their plans and continue their journey downriver. During the journey, Huck and Jim's friendship grows considerably, and the two become like family. Huck and Jim are separated when their raft hits a steamboat and Huck goes ashore to stay with a family, the Grangerford's. Huck soon becomes involved in their ongoing feud and leaves when several family members are killed.

Huck finds Jim and they are able to continue their journey. At one point, they meet two swindlers, known as the King and Duke. The boys let the men join them on their raft and they in turn participate in their escapades. In one town that the group reaches, King and the Duke stage a "Shakespearean Revival" and they take in over $400. In another town they decide to impersonate the brothers of the deceased Peter Wilks in order to reap his inheritance; this escapade eventually backfires.

The four travelers are able to escape and continue the journey down the Mississippi. At this point, Huck has misgivings about having helped a slave escape from his master. He begins to write a letter to Miss Watson, Jim's owner, but tears it up after recalling how Jim has become his good friend. He decides to make sure that Jim achieves his freedom. Little does he know that the King has sold Jim for $40 behind Huck's back.

Huck discovers that Jim has been sold to a family named Phelps, and goes to their farm, where he is mistaken for their relative Tom. It turns out that Tom is Huck's friend Tom Sawyer. On the road to the Phelps', Huck meets Tom and explains that he wants to help Jim get his freedom. Tom agrees to take part in this plan. At the Phelps', Tom introduces himself as Sid Sawyer, his half-brother.

Jim is being imprisoned in a cabin on the farm. Tom and Huck dig their way into the cabin, and smuggle in food and other things. At the right moment, the three escape from the farm and head to the raft. Tom is hit by a bullet during the escape, and a doctor is found to treat him. The next day, Huck returns to the Phelps, and Tom and Jim, with his hands tied behind his back, are soon also brought to the farm.

Unbeknown to Huck or Jim, the slave has been a free man for two months already, when his owner, Miss Watson, died and freed him in her will. Tom knew about his freedom, but went through the entire scheme for the "adventure of it." It also comes out that Pap Finn has been murdered. At the end of the book, Huck doesn't want to be adopted by Tom's Aunt Sally, and decides to "light out for the Territories ahead of the rest."

 

 

  • Biography of Mark Twain

  • Character List

  • Main Themes

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 1 to Chapter 6

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 7 to Chapter 10

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 11 to Chapter 16

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 17 to Chapter 22

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 23 to Chapter 25

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 26 to Chapter 31

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 32 to Chapter 35

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 36 to Chapter 39

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapter 40 to Chapter 43

  • Studyworld Essay Search on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

  • Satire and Irony



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