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STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 

Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 26-31



Summary:

The girls invite Huck to dinner and during the meal the conversation turns to England. Huck makes several mistakes when he tells them about his background and one of the sisters becomes auspicious. She is reprimanded by the other two sisters and told to be courteous to their guest. Huck is beginning to feel awful about the whole swindle and secretary resolves to help them out.

He goes to the Duke and Dauphin's room to search for the money, and overhears their plan of how they intend to steal all the family's property. After they leave, Huck takes the gold and temporarily hides the sack of money in Wilks' coffin hoping to move it elsewhere before the funeral service. He cannot carry out his plans as the undertaker seals the coffin and does not notice the sack. At this point Huck wonders whether he should write May Jane a letter telling her to have the grave dug up and the coffin reopened.

In the meantime, the Dauphin convinces the girls to sell their estate and the slaves and relocate in England. There is an emotional scene among the slaves when some of the families are separated as a result of the sales. Huck is upset by it and comforts himself with the thought that they will be reunited in a week or so when the Duke and Dauphin are exposed. When the men question Huck about the gold, he is able to convince them that the slaves must have managed to steal it.

Mary Jane is also extremely upset over the separation of the slave family and Huck feeling sorry for her tries to comfort her and tells her the truth about the scam and that the family will be reunited again after the receive their punishment. He tells her to wait at a relative's house for several hours so that he can get away. He also leaves her a note with the location of the money. Just as he is about to leave, the real Harvey and William Wilks appear.

After much excitement and cross examinations the men are exposed. The gold is discovered when the coffin is reopened when one of the real brothers claims that the deceased man has a tattoo on his chest. With this conclusive evidence, the scam artists are exposed and in the excitement that follows, Huck has a chance to escape and makes his way to the raft.

Thinking that they are finally rid of the Duke and Dauphin, he is disappointed when he sees the men approaching in a boat. The men are furious at Huck for deserting them but forget about him when they start arguing with each other as to who had hidden the gold in the coffin. They make up and go to sleep.

Several days go by and the men attempt their scams in other towns without success. One day, Huck has another opportunity to escape from the men and he heads back to the raft with the intent to leave without them. When he reaches the raft, he discovers that Jim is not around. Going back to shore, a boy tells him that he saw a slave being sold as a runaway for forty dollars.

Huck doesn't know what to do. At first he thinks that he should write a letter to Miss Watson so that she would get him and Jim would at least be home. Then he remembers that she had planned to sell him anyhow so he changes his mind because it would create trouble for him as well. He finally decides to help Jim escape after finding out that a Mr. Phelps had bought him.

 

Review:

It is important to note the growth that is occurring within Huck in regard to Jim and the issue of slavery. Huck is torn between writing a letter to Miss Watson or what he thinks might be sacrificing his soul and he chooses not to write the letter. This choice indicates how Huck's relationship has changed towards Jim and that he has accepted him as a friend.

It is also interesting to see how Huck has become compassionate towards the plight of the slave family. During the sale of the slaves and the episode of the family being separated, Huck learns the idea that black people have feelings also, despite the teachings of society. It is interesting to note the change of thoughts that Huck experiences.

 

 

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