Why does Jim run away?

Jim runs away after he overhears Miss Watson threatening to sell him to a buyer in New Orleans. He explains the situation to Huck when they first meet on Jackson’s Island in Chapter 8: “I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ’uz sich a big stack o’ money. . . . I lit out mighty quick, I tell you.” Although Jim does not give more explicit reasons for his escape, the reader can infer two major motivating factors. First, given Jim’s evident fear, he likely worries that he will suffer under worse conditions if he were forced to move further South, deeper into slave territory. Second, Jim’s emphasis on the exchange of money indicates his resentment at being treated like property.

What trick does Huck play on Jim after they get separated in the fog?

In Chapter 15, shortly after the incident where Huck and Jim encounter a trio of murderous thieves on a wrecked steamboat, a thick fog sets in at night. Huck gets in the canoe and paddles off to find a place to secure the raft, but he forgets to tie the rope to the raft and accidentally gets separated from Jim. When Huck eventually finds his way back to the raft, he wakes Jim up and tries to convince him that he dreamed the entire episode, fog and all. Jim falls for Huck’s trick for a short while, before piecing the truth back together. But when he figures out Huck’s ruse, Jim shows no sign of amusement. Instead, he explains how deeply anxious he felt at the thought of losing Huck: “When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin’ for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no mo’ what become er me en de raf’.” Huck deeply regrets the trick, and despite his reservations about humbling himself before a black man, he apologizes to Jim.

Why does Huck write the letter to Miss Watson informing her of Jim’s whereabouts?

In Chapter 31 Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson in order to purge his sins. Huck feels guilty about helping Jim, and he sits down to pray for his own self-improvement. But when he tries to pray the words won’t come, and Huck thinks he knows why: “it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all.” In essence, Huck realizes that he cannot match the words of his prayer with meaningful action. Huck’s inability to match word and action only perpetuates his original sin, which was to help Jim escape. In order to relieve the tension of his sinfulness, Huck resolves to make good on his word by putting pen to paper. Immediately after he writes the letter Huck feels relief: “I felt good and all washed clean of sin.” But as he starts to think about Jim’s companionship and the comfort it has offered, Huck’s sense of guilt resurfaces, and he rips up the letter.

When does Jim earn his freedom?

Although Jim only learns about his freedom at the end of the book, in reality he has been a free man since Widow Douglas’s death two months prior. The delay in this news has important implications for the story. For one thing, it absolves Huck of some of his guilt for helping a runaway slave. More importantly, though, the delay demonstrates a fundamental difference of character between Huck and Tom. Tom delivers the news of Jim’s freedom after he and Huck have gone through all of the trouble of planning and executing Jim’s escape. Tom’s actions indicate that unlike Huck, who has grown to understand Jim’s humanity, Tom is fine with treating Jim like just another character in a fictional adventure scenario. Tom’s failure to deliver the news also ends up showcasing the strength of Jim’s character. When the escape plan goes awry and Tom gets shot in the leg, Jim gives up what may be his last chance at freedom in order to save the boy’s life.

Why doesn’t Huck want to be adopted by Aunt Sally?

Huck doesn’t want to be adopted by Aunt Sally because she doesn’t conform to his idea of freedom. Huck is running toward freedom just as much as he is running away from civilization. He describes this twofold desire in the final sentences of the book: “But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” Huck’s idea of freedom looks a lot like stories of the Wild West, and he’s made up his mind to pursue that idea and “light out for the Territory.” But Huck also despises civilized life. When he says “I been there before,” he is referring back to his time with Widow Douglas in St. Petersburg. This is where Huck started at the beginning of the book, and he doesn’t want to end where he began. Ironically, though, this is exactly what happens. On the book’s first page Huck explains that Widow Douglas “allowed she would sivilize me; . . . [and] when I couldn’t stand it no longer, I lit out.” The similarities in Huck’s language (i.e., “sivilize,” “light out”) indicate that he’s ended where he began.

How do Pap Finn, the Widow Douglas, and Judge Thatcher dispute over the custody of Huck?

The Widow Douglas takes care of Huck and tries to teach him. She and Judge Thatcher go to court “to take [Huck] away from [Pap Finn] and let one of them be [Huck’s] guardian.” Pap Finn argues that because he is Huck’s father, he has the right to Huck’s money, and he thrashes Huck unless Huck gets a few dollars at a time from Judge Thatcher. In a desperate move, Pap Finn captures Huck and takes him across the river to Illinois, where “there warn’t no houses but an old log hut in a place where the timber was so thick you couldn’t find it if you didn’t know where it was.”

How does Huck escape from imprisonment by his father?

Huck finds “an old rusty wood-saw without any handle” and cuts a hole in the side of the cabin, keeping the hole hidden behind an old blanket. Then one day Huck finds a canoe on the river. Huck hides the canoe and loads it with food and other supplies. Then he shoots a wild pig, takes it into the cabin, and slits its throat. He uses the pig’s blood to fake his own murder. That night Huck sets off downriver in the canoe, confident he will be presumed dead.

What dreams and plans does Jim have for his future once he successfully escapes from slavery?

Once he gets to a free state, Jim plans to work hard and save his money so that he can buy his wife out of slavery. Then “they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go steal them.” Jim confides these plans to Huck as their raft drifts downstream toward Cairo, Illinois. Huck remarks, “Just see what a difference it made in him the minute he judged he was about free.”

What is the significance of the town of Cairo, Illinois?

Cairo, Illinois, which lies at the southern tip of the free states, is where Huck and Jim are headed with their raft. Huck explains the plan: “We would sell the raft and get on a steamboat and go way up the Ohio amongst the free States, and then be out of trouble.” Unfortunately, Huck and Jim pass by Cairo during a heavy fog, an event that marks a turning point in the story because once they are south of Cairo, Huck and Jim are drifting farther and farther into the slave states of the south. The farther south they go, the harder it will be for Jim to avoid recapture.

How does Huck escape from the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons?

When actual shooting breaks out between the two feuding clans, Huck climbs into a cottonwood tree to hide. He stays hidden during the shootout that kills his friend Buck and waits until after dark to come down. Then Huck runs to the river, where Jim has been hiding on an island in the swamp. Jim has their raft ready, and the two “shove off for the big water.” Huck says, “I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below there and out in the middle of the Mississippi.”

What happens after two con artists come on board Huck and Jim’s raft?

After the two con men, claiming to be a duke and a king, take over the raft, Huck claims to be Jim’s owner to avoid the men’s suspicions. The duke prints a handbill identifying Jim as a runaway slave and then shows the handbill to make others believe they have captured the runaway. This ruse allows the raft to travel during the day. Later the duke dresses Jim up as King Lear. Although they know the duke and king are frauds, Huck and Jim benefit from the money their scams bring in.

How do the duke and king work their Royal Nonesuch scam?

The duke and king build anticipation for a three-night performance of a “Thrilling Tragedy.” The performance opens with a long speech and then “the king come a-prancing out on all fours, naked . . . painted all over . . . and splendid as a rainbow” and capers around the stage. The audience laughs and calls for encores until they realize the “king” has gone and the show is over. But rather than admit they’ve been fooled, the audience talks up the show to ensure the joke is played on the next night’s audience. On the third night, the king and duke—having already collected three nights’ admission fees—leave town as soon as the audience is seated.

How does Huck foil the attempts of the duke and king to rob the Wilks family?

Pretending to be the relatives of Peter Wilks, a dead man, the duke and king work their way into the confidence of Mary Jane, Peter’s daughter. Mary Jane entrusts the duke and king with a bag of money. Huck steals the money from the con men and hides it in the dead man’s coffin. He also tells Mary Jane about the Royal Nonesuch scam and advises her on how to expose the men. Huck writes Mary Jane a note to tell her where the money is hidden.

Who is responsible for Jim’s recapture and how does it happen?

The duke is responsible for Jim’s recapture. He plotted to sell Jim from the beginning, when he printed up the handbill identifying Jim as a runaway slave. To collect his money, all the duke has to do is show the handbill and tell someone where Jim is hiding. As a boy tells Huck, the duke “sold out his chance in him for forty dollars, becuz he’s got to go up the river and can’t wait.”

Why is Jim’s imprisonment on Silas Phelps’s plantation a lucky coincidence for Huck and Jim?

The plantation owner, Silas Phelps, turns out to be married to Tom Sawyer’s aunt. Huck arrives at the Phelps plantation shortly after Jim and is immediately mistaken for Tom Sawyer. When Tom Sawyer arrives, he claims to be Sid Sawyer. Jim plays along with Tom’s and Huck’s escape plots, most likely because he knows that his chances are better staying among people who are related to folks back home than escaping alone into the unknown. Since he is at the Phelps plantation, Jim hears the news that Miss Watson has died and freed him in her will.