Huckleberry Finn Chapter Summaries

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Summary: Chapter XXXVI Late that night, Tom and Huck, after much fruitless effort, give up digging with the knives and switch to pick-axes instead. The next day, they gather candlesticks, spoons, and tin plates. Tom says that Jim can etch a declaration of his captivity on the tin plate using the other objects, then throw it out the window for the world to read, just like in Tom’s novels. That night, the boys dig their way to Jim, who is delighted to see them. He tells them that Sally and Silas have been to visit and pray with him. Jim does not understand the boys’ fancy scheme but agrees to go along. Tom convinces Jim’s keeper, Nat, who believes witches are haunting him, that the only cure is to bake a “witch pie” and give it to Jim. Tom plans to bake a rope ladder into the pie. Summary: Chapter XXXVII Aunt Sally notices the missing shirt, candles, sheets, and other articles Huck and Tom steal for their plan, and she takes out her anger at the disappearances on seemingly everyone except the boys. She believes that perhaps rats have stolen some of the items, so Huck and Tom secretly plug up the ratholes in the house, confounding Uncle Silas when he goes to do the same job. By removing and then replacing sheets and spoons, the boys confuse Sally so much that she loses track of how many she has. The baking of the “witch pie” is a trying task, but the boys finally finish it and send it to Jim. Summary: Chapter XXXVIII Tom insists that Jim scratch an inscription bearing his coat of arms on the wall of the shed, the way the books say. Making pens from the spoons and candlestick is a great deal of trouble, but they manage. Tom creates an unintentionally humorous coat of arms and composes a set of mournful declarations for Jim to inscribe on the wall. Tom, however, expresses disapproval at the fact that they are writing on a wall made of wood rather than stone. The boys try to steal a millstone, but it proves too heavy for them, so they sneak Jim out to help. As Huck and Jim struggle with the millstone, Huck wryly notes that Tom has a talent for supervising while others do the work. Tom tries to get Jim to take a rattlesnake or rat into the shack to tame, and then tries to convince Jim to grow a flower to water with his tears. Jim protests against the unnecessary amount of trouble Tom wants to create, but Tom replies that his ideas present opportunities
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