Huck Finn Character Summary Essay, Research Paper
Huckelberry Finn Summary
Huckleberry Finn is the main character, and it is through his eyes that the South is revealed. His companion, a slave named Jim, accompanies Huck during their journey along the Mississippi.
The novel begins with Huck writing the story. He describes what has happened to him since The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huck and Tom had discovered twelve thousand dollars in treasure, Judge Thatcher holds the money for them. Huck was adopted by the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. They both try to civilize the boy with not much success.
Annoyed with his life, Huck runs away. Tom Sawyer sways Huck back by promising to start a gang of robbers. All the boys in town join Tom’s band, and they use a cave as their hideout. The boys become tired of the Gang due to its lack of adventure.
Months later Huck sees footprints in the snow which he recognizes as his Pa’s. Huck realizes that Pa has returned to claim his money, and so he quickly runs to Judge Thatcher and sells his share of the money for a dollar. Pa catches Huck and makes him hand over the dollar, and threatens to beat Huck if he ever goes to school again. He stated that it would be wrong to be the only family member who was literate.
Judge Thatcher and the Widow try to gain court custody of Huck, but a new judge in town refuses to separate Huck from Pa. Later in the novel, Pa steals Huck away from the Widow’s house and takes him to a log cabin. Huck says that he enjoys the life, but he soon decides to escape after Pa starts to frequently beat him.
When Pa returns to the town and Huck takes the chance to escape. He saws his way out of the log cabin, and frames his own death. He then takes a canoe and floats downstream to Jackson’s Island. Once there he sets up camp and hides out.
A few days later Huck stumbles onto a leftover campfire on the island. He is frightened but decides to discover who the other person is. The next day he discovers that Jim. Jim has run away after overhearing the Widow plan to sell him to a slave trader. Jim is scared at first, believing Huck to be dead, but soon is happy to have a friend.
The river starts flooding, and at one point an entire house floats past the island. Huck and Jim climb inside to see what they can salvage. They find a dead man lying in the corner of the house. They take what they can and return to camp.
Huck returns to the town dressed as a girl in order to be updated on the towns happenings. While talking with a woman, he learns that both Jim and Pa are suspects in his murder. The woman then tells Huck that she thinks Jim is hiding out on Jackson’s Island. When Huck hears that, he immediately returns to Jim and together they leave the island.
They float downstream using a large raft during the nights, and hide during the days. During a thunderstorm they see a steamboat which has run aground. Huck convinces Jim to land on the boat, and together they climb aboard. They soon realize that there are three thieves on the wreck. When Huck realizes this, he and Jim try to escape. Their raft has come undone. They manage to find the skiff that the robbers had used and immediately steal it. They eventually catch up with their original raft and recapture it.
Jim and Huck continue floating downstream. Their want to reach Cairo, where they can take a boat up the Ohio River and into the free states. However, during a dense fog they become separated, and pass Cairo without knowing.
A few nights after passing Cairo, a steamboat runs over the raft. Huck and Jim jump overboard. Huck swims to shore where his is surrounded by dogs. He ends up being invited to live with a family called the Grangerfords. Huck is treated well and soon discovers that Jim is hiding in a nearby swamp. Everything is peaceful until an old feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons reignites. Within a day all of the males in the family are killed, including Huck’s best friend Buck. Huck uses the chaos to run back to Jim, and together they start downstream again.
later on two thieves, the Duke and the King, are rescued by Huck. They immediately take over the raft and start to travel downstream, making money by cheating people in the various towns along the river.
The two men come up with a scam called the Royal Nonesuch which earns them over four hundred dollars. The scam involves getting all the men in the town to come to the show, and then having the King walk around naked for a few minutes. Then the Duke and King escape with all the money.
Further down river the two men learn about a large inheritance. They pretend to be British uncles of three recently orphaned girls in order to receive the money. The girls are so happy to see their “uncles” that they do not realize they are being cheated. Huck is treated so nicely by all three of the girls that he vows he will never let the thieves steal their money.
Huck sneaks into the King’s room and steals the large bag of gold that came with the inheritance. He hides the money in the coffin of Peter Wilk’s, the recently deceased brother of the con men. Meanwhile the humbugs spend their time liquidating the girls’ property.
Huck comes across Mary Jane Wilks, the eldest of the girls, and sees her crying. He decides to tell her the entire story about the two cons. She is infuriated by the story but agrees to leave the house for a few days so that Huck can escape.
Right after Mary Jane leave, the real two uncles of the girls arrive in the town. However, because they lost their baggage they are unable to prove their identity. The town lawyer takes all four men aside and tries to find out who is lying. The King and the Duke fake their roles so well that there is no way to determine who is telling the truth. Finally one of the real uncles says that his brother Peter had a tattoo on his chest and challenges the King to identify it. In order to figure out who is telling the truth, the townspeople decide to exhume the body.
When they dig up the grave, the townspeople discover the missing money that Huck hid there. In the chaos, Huck runs straight back to the raft and he and Jim push off into the river. However, the Duke and King soon catch up with them and rejoin the raft.
Farther down the river the King and Duke sell Jim claiming he is a runaway slave from New Orleans. Huck decides to rescue him, and walks up to the house where Jim is being kept. Luckily, the house is owned by Tom Sawyer’s Aunt Sally. Huck immediately pretends to be Tom.
When Tom arrives, he pretends to be his younger brother Sid Sawyer. Together he and Huck contrive how to help Jim escape.
After a lot of planning, the boys convince the town that a group of thieves is planning to steal Jim. That night they get Jim and start to run away. The local farmers follow them, shooting as they run. Huck, Jim, and Tom manage to escape, but Tom gets shot in the leg. Huck goes back to the town to get a doctor, whom he sends over to where Tom is hiding with Jim.
The doctor returns with Tom on a stretcher and Jim in chains. Jim is treated badly until the doctor describes how Jim helped him take care of the boy. When Tom awakens, he demands that they let Jim go free.
Aunt Polly arrives. She realized there was something wrong when her Toms Aunt Sally wrote that both Tom and Sid had arrived. Aunt Polly tells them that Jim is indeed a free man, because the Widow passed away and freed him in her will. Huck and Tom give Jim forty dollars for being such a good prisoner.
Jim then tells Huck to stop worrying about his Pa. He reveals to Huck that the dead man on the floating house was in fact Huck’s Pa. Aunt Sally offers to adopt Huck, but he refuses; he had tried that sort of lifestyle once before. Huck then concludes the novel by stating that he would never have undertaken the book had he known it would take so long to write it.
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