Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 17-22
Fortunately for Huck, the owner of the dogs is nearby and
calls off the dogs. When the man asks who he is, Huck pretends that his
name is George Jackson and says that he was shipwrecked. Trusting his story,
the man invites him to his house. At first the family is leery of him as
they think that he might be a member of the Shepherdson family who is their
arch enemy. After thoroughly questioning "George", they decide
that he is not. He is given some dry clothes and food to eat and invited
to stay as long as he would like.
Huck enjoys the comforts that life with the Grangerford's
offers. They have a son who is around Huck's age with whom he hangs out
and has fun times. He also finds out more about the feud between the two
prominent families. Huck is drawn into the situation when one Sunday after
church services, Sophia Grangerford asks him to go back to the family pew
and get her Bible. Unknown to anyone, the book contains a message with the
words "Half-past two" written on it from one of the Shepherdson
boys who is Sophia's secret lover. That same day, by chance, Huck is reunited
with Jim when his slave valet from the Grangerford's household shows him
some water-moccasine prints in the sand. Jim tells Huck that he has repaired
the raft and restocked it with supplies.
This reunion seems to have come in the nick of time because
the feud between the Shepherdson and the Grangerford comes to a head and
both families are killed. Huck goes back to Jim and the two continue on
The next adventure puts them into a situation with two men
who are in trouble and trying to escape law. They are scam-artists and are
being sought by the town"s people. Huck and Jim allow them to board
the raft and offer them refuge. The men tell them that they are royalty,
a Duke and a Dauphin, and impress Huck and Jim with fantastic stories of
their past. Soon Huck realizes that the two are liars, but to prevent "quarrels,"
does not let on that he knows.
In turn, Huck also makes up a story of his own saying that
he was orphaned and had to travel at night to avoid people who were searching
for runaway slaves.
The next morning, the two men think up a scheme and decide
to put on a performance of Shakespeare in the next town and start to rehearse
their roles. When they reach a town, they find that the people have gone
to a revival meeting. The men seize this opportunity and one of them gets
up and says that this meeting has reformed him and has prompted him to become
a missionary. The people are taken in by his remarks and offer him money
to succeed with his mission. The collection nets eighty-seven dollars and
seventy-five cents. In the meantime the other man went into the deserted
print office and printed handbills for their show as well as a notice offering
a reward for Jim so that they could freely say that the slave is their captive.
While they are in town, Huck witnesses a shooting, an angry
mob scene which is subdued by an eloquent speech by the man who was the
intended victim, and a circus performance.
The chapters depict life along the shore of the river. Huck
is forced into different situations and assumes different personas to
suit the occasion. Within each role, Huck reveals a different characteristic.
The section on the religious meeting is presented in a such
a way that it comes across as being a scam and not a meaningful experience.