Quick/Fast Review of The Adventures of
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
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."