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Short Summary of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of a boy living on the Mississippi River during the 1840's. It relates the experiences of Huck and Jim, a runaway slave. The book is a continuation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and recaptures its playful, lighthearted spirit.

The book begins with Huck living with Widow Douglas who is trying to "sivilize" him. He finds this lifestyle terribly constricting but he tries to make a the best of the situation. The narrative takes a darker tone with the return of Pap Finn, Huck's drunken father. A judge rejects Judge Thatcher and the Widow Douglas' attempt to be appointed Huck's legal guardian, and Pap goes on a drinking binge to celebrate his victory. Pap excepts to get Huck's entire fortune and takes Huck to a deserted cabin three miles upriver, to keep a close eye on him. Huck is unhappy, fakes his own death, and escapes in a canoe to Jackson's Island.

On his third day on the island, Huck meets Jim, a black boy, whom he knows from Hannibal. It turns out that Jim has run away from his master, to seek his freedom. The two boys get along very well and forge a strong friendship. After several weeks, Huck gets word that the island is about to be searched for Jim. The two pack up some things, and head down the river on a raft. Their plan is to reach Cairo, Illinois, where they will take a steamboat up the Ohio River to the free states.

Their attempts are thwarted by poor weather conditions and they soon discover that they have passed the small town of Cairo in the fog. The two boys change their plans and continue their journey downriver. During the journey, Huck and Jim's friendship grows considerably, and the two become like family. Huck and Jim are separated when their raft hits a steamboat and Huck goes ashore to stay with a family, the Grangerford's. Huck soon becomes involved in their ongoing feud and leaves when several family members are killed.

Huck finds Jim and they are able to continue their journey. At one point, they meet two swindlers, known as the King and Duke. The boys let the men join them on their raft and they in turn participate in their escapades. In one town that the group reaches, King and the Duke stage a "Shakespearean Revival" and they take in over $400.
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