The Adventures of Huck Finn By Mark Twain
Length: 1107 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
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Summary of the book
Aunt Douglas, who is a widow, tries to raise Huckleberry Finn, by making him, more civilised. In order to be civilised he isn't allowed to smoke or swear and he learns how to read and write. He dislikes his new life and decides to run away.
Tom Sawyer, his best friend, manages to bring him back, by promising to start a band of robbers. During their adventures, Huck and Tom find a box of gold. Soon after, Huck recognises footprints in the snow as his father's and he realised that Pa has returned to claim Huck Finn's money that he found after defeating Injun Joe. He quickly runs to Judge Thatcher and sells his share of money for an amount of a dollar. Pa catches Huck and takes away the dollar and threatens to beat Huck if he ever goes back to school again. He is forced to live with his father, a boozer, but has never really loved him. Huck really cannot stand it, because he is kept enclosed by his father during the days and he has to care about him when he comes home drunk and very lately.
After Huck makes the impression that he is killed, by leaving bloodstains, he flees to Jackson's Island in the Mississippi. On the island he meets Jim, one of Miss Watson's slaves. He ran away because she sold him, as a result he is supposed work on a plantation, but he fled. Huck promises not to betray him and that he will go through hell to keep Jim out of slavery.
Some days later Huck, disguised as a girl, sneaks in the village for getting some information. While talking with a woman, he learns that both, Jim and his father are suspected for his murder. The woman tells Huck that she thinks that a slave is hiding out on Jackson Island. When Huck hears that, he immediately returns to Jim and together they leave the island in their own-made raft.
Huck and Jim flow downstream, becoming close friends. Their goal is to reach Ohio, where slavery has been abolished and where Jim can be free and save. After having a boat accident, Jim and Huck lose each other. Huck can reach the waterside and tries to find help at the next house. From that on, Huck lives with the Grangerford family for a while.
They seem to be friendly and civilised people, but it turns out that they have a big feud with the family of Shepherdsons. Huck is just able to escape, before he becomes a victim of the feud as well. He starts to admire Jim, because he is honest, caring and faithful. Jim and Huck meet again and they continue their travel on a raft.
They meet two frauds, the "Duke of Bridgewater" and the "Dauphin son of Louis XVII of France". Those guys are telling Huck and Finn many lies, although they are just simple cheater. When Huck and Jim want to reveal the true identities of the criminals, the real brothers turn up. Huck and Jim are glad to be freed of the criminals, but the Duke and the King escape and join them again. They betray Jim and sell him to Mrs. Sally Phelps, a farther relative of Tom Sawyer's.
Huck decides to rescue Jim and he goes to Mrs. Phelps and pretends that he is Tom. When the real Tom arrives to visit his aunt, he pretends that he is the younger brother Sid Sawyer. Together he and Huck make a plan how to help Jim escape from his prison, which is an outdoor shed. The preparations take them about three weeks and while they prepare, Tom manages to make Jim's life difficult by putting snakes and spiders into his room.
When they put the plan into operation everything goes wrong. Tom is shot in the leg and Jim is recaptured. At this point Aunt Polly appears, having travelled all the way down the river, because she realised that something was wrong when her sister wrote to her that both, Tom as Sid had just arrived. Aunt Polly reveals the boys their identities and then tells them that Jim is indeed a free man, because the widow passed away and freed him in her will. Tom gives Jim forty dollars for being such a good prisoner and then they freed him. Jim then tells Huck to stop worrying about his Pa, because his dead body was already found. Aunt Sally then offers to adopt Huck, but he refuses and decides to live just a life he has ever wanted to with a pipe and a fishing rod.
Interpretation of the book
Twain uses a boy and a runaway slave to not only tell a story, but to express what he thinks that are the harsh problems of civilized society today and that days. We can not only poke fun at American society, but we can learn from its mistakes. Twain turned an ordinary adventure down a river into an exploration of the problems society, especially civilized society, faces. Because of the brilliant way in which Twain intertwines satire into his novel, the lessons in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, will be remembered forever.
The Main Character
Huck Finn grew up living in the woods and pretty much raised himself because his pap was a drunk. He never had a civilized lifestyle and he believes that his way of living was good enough for him. He is free to do what ever he likes to and that is how he learned to live. He does not believe in school at all because all you need to know to live is not found in a book that you read at school. He believes that you learn it by living out in the wild. Huck is sort of naïve, but he really knows what he wants and he has already built himself an own opinion about the society and the lifestyle he wants to live. All those points are the reason for him being such a really intelligent and special person.
I love the story. I really like "The Adventures of Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer". Mark Twain just understands it best to intertwine a real big problem of those days' society in an adventure story and to arrange to describe the story in such a wonderful way. All those points are making his books fascinating exciting. Even though I have already read that book more than once, it still impresses me and it also makes my point of view in life more clearly, every time I read it. I can highly recommend it!