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... А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

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American Literature books summary

disguise himself as a girl, with one of the dresses they took from the


Huck practices his girl impersonation, then sets out for the Illinois

shore. In a formerly abandoned shack, he finds a woman who looks forty, and

also appears a newcomer. Huck is relieved she is a newcomer, since she will

not be able to recognize him.

Chapters 11-13 Summary

The woman eyes Huckleberry somewhat suspiciously as she lets him in.

Huck introduces himself as "Sarah Williams," from Hookerville. The woman

"clatters on," eventually getting to Huck's murder. She reveals that Pap

was suspected and nearly lynched, but people came to suspect Jim, since he

ran away the same day Huck was killed. There is a three- hundred-dollar

price on Jim's head. But soon, suspicions turned again to Pap, after he

blew money the judge gave him to find Jim on drink. But he left town before

he could be lynched, and now there is two hundred dollars on his head. The

woman has noticed smoke over on Jackson's Island, and, suspecting that Jim

might be hiding there, told her husband to look. He will go there tonight

with another man and a gun. The woman looks at Huck suspiciously and asks

his name.

He replies, "Mary Williams." When the woman asks about the change, he

covers himself, saying his full name is "Sarah Mary Williams." She has him

try to kill a rat by pitching a lump of lead at it, and he nearly hits.

Finally, she asks him to reveal his (male) identity, saying she understands

that he is a runaway apprentice and will not turn him in. He says his name

is George Peters, and he was indeed apprenticed to a mean farmer. She lets

him go after quizzing him on farm subjects, to make sure he's telling the

truth. She tells him to send for her, Mrs. Judith Loftus, if he has

trouble. Back at the island, Huck tells Jim they must shove off, and they

hurriedly pack their things and slowly ride out on a raft they had found.

Huck and Jim build a wigwam on the raft in Chapter Twelve. They spend a

number of days drifting down river, passing the great lights of St. Louis

on the fifth night. They "lived pretty high," buying, "borrowing", or

hunting food as they need it. One night they come upon a wreaked steamship.

Over Jim's objections, Huck goes onto the wreck, to loot it and have an

"adventure," the way Tom Sawyer would. On the wreck, Huck overhears two

robbers threatening to kill a third so that he won't "talk."

One of the two manages to convince the other to let their victim be

drowned with the wreck. They leave. Huck finds Jim and says they have to

cut the robbers' boat loose so they can't escape. Jim says that their own

raft has broken loose and oated away. Huck and Jim head for the robbers'

boat in Chapter Thirteen. The robbers put some booty in the boat, but leave

to get some more money off the man on the steamboat. Jim and Huck jump

right into the boat and head off as quietly as possible. A few hundred

yards safely away, Huck feels bad for the robbers left stranded on the

wreck since, who knows, he may end up a robber himself someday. They find

their raft just before they stop for Huck to go ashore for help. Ashore,

Huck finds a ferry watchman, and tells him his family is stranded on the

steamboat wreck. The watchman tell him the wreck is of the Walter Scott.

Huck invents an elaborate story as to how his family got on the wreck,

including the niece of a local big shot among them, so that the man is more

than happy to take his ferry to help. Huck feels good about his good deed,

and thinks Widow Douglas would have been proud of him. Jim and Huck turn

into an island, and sink the robbers' boat before going to bed.

Chapters 14-16 Summary

Jim and Huck find a number of valuables among the robbers' booty in

Chapter Fourteen, mostly trinkets and cigars. Jim says he doesn't enjoy

Huck's "adventures," since they risk his getting caught. Huck recognizes

that Jim is intelligent, at least for what Huck thinks of a black person.

Huck astonishes Jim with his stories of kings. Jim had only heard of King

Solomon, whom he considers a fool for wanting to chop a baby in half. Huck

cannot convince Jim otherwise. Huck also tells Jim about the "dolphin," son

of the executed King Louis XVI of France, rumored to be wandering America.

Jim is incredulous when Huck explains that the French do not speak English,

but another language. Huck tries to argue the point with Jim, but gives up

in defeat.

Huck and Jim are nearing the Ohio River, their goal, in Chapter

Fifteen. But one densely foggy night, Huck, in the canoe, gets separated

from Jim and the raft. He tries to paddle back to it, but the fog is so

thick he loses all sense of direction. After a lonely time adrift, Huck is

reunited with Jim, who is asleep on the raft. Jim is thrilled to see Huck

alive. But Huck tries to trick Jim, pretending he dreamed their entire

separation. Jim tells Huck the story of his dream, making the fog and the

troubles he faced on the raft into an allegory of their journey to the free

states. But soon Jim notices all the debris, dirt and tree branches, that

collected on the raft while it was adrift.

He gets mad at Huck for making a fool of him after he had worried about

him so much. "It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go

and humble myself to a nigger," but Huck apologizes, and does not regret

it. He feels bad about hurting Jim. Jim and Huck hope they don't miss

Cairo, the town at the mouth of the Ohio River, which runs into the free

states. Meanwhile, Huck's conscience troubles him deeply about helping Jim

escape from his "rightful owner," Miss Watson, especially after her

consideration for Huck. Jim can't stop talking about going to the free

states, especially about his plan to earn money to buy his wife and

children's freedom, or have some abolitionists kidnap them if their masters

refuse. When they think they see Cairo, Jim goes out on the canoe to check,

secretly resolved to give Jim up. But his heart softens when he hears Jim

call out that he is his only friend, the only one to keep a promise to him.

Huck comes upon some men in a boat who want to search his raft for escaped

slaves. Huck pretends to be grateful, saying no one else would help them.

He leads them to believe his family, on board the raft, has smallpox. The

men back away, telling Huck to go further downstream and lie about his

family's condition to get help. They leave forty dollars in gold out of

pity. Huck feels bad for having done wrong by not giving Jim up.

But he realizes that he would have felt just as bad if he had given Jim

up. Since good and bad seem to have the same results, Huck resolves to

disregard morality in the future and do what's "handiest." Floating along,

they pass several towns that are not Cairo, and worry that they passed it

in the fog. They stop for the night, and resolve to take the canoe upriver,

but in the morning it is gone{ more bad luck from the rattlesnake. Later, a

steamboat drives right into the raft, breaking it apart. Jim and Huck dive

off in time, but are separated. Huck makes it ashore, but is caught by a

pack of dogs.

Chapters 17-19 Summary

A man finds Huck in Chapter Seventeen and calls off the dogs. Huck

introduces himself as George Jackson. The man brings "George" home, where

he is eyed cautiously as a possible member of the Sheperdson family. But

they decide he is not. The lady of the house has Buck, a boy about Huck's

age (thirteen or fourteen) get Huck some dry clothes. Buck says he would

have killed a Shepardson if there had been any. Buck tells Huck a riddle,

though Huck does not understand the concept of riddles. Buck says Huck must

stay with him and they will have great fun. Huck invents an elaborate story

of how he was orphaned. The family, the Grangerfords, offer to let him stay

with them for as long as he likes. Huck innocently admires the house and

its (humorously tacky) finery. He similarly admires the work of a deceased

daughter, Emmeline, who created (unintentionally funny) maudlin pictures

and poems about people who died. "Nothing couldn't be better" than life at

the comfortable house.

Huck admires Colonel Grangerford, the master of the house, and his

supposed gentility. He is a warm- hearted man, treated with great courtesy

by everyone. He own a very large estate with over a hundred slaves. The

family's children, besides Buck, are Bob, the oldest, then Tom, then

Charlotte, aged twenty-five, and Sophia, twenty, all of them beautiful.

Three sons have been killed. One day, Buck tries to shoot Harney

Shepardson, but misses. Huck asks why he wanted to kill him. Buck explains

the Grangerfords are in a feud with a neighboring clan of families, the

Shepardsons, who are as grand as they are. No one can remember how the feud

started, or name a purpose for it, but in the last year two people have

been killed, including a fourteen-year-old Grangerford. Buck declares the

Shepardson men all brave. The two families attend church together, their ri

es between their knees as the minister preaches about brotherly love. After

church one day, Sophia has Huck retrieve a bible from the pews. She is

delighted to find inside a note with the words "two-thirty." Later, Huck's

slave valet leads him deep into the swamp, telling him he wants to show him

some water-moccasins. There he finds Jim! Jim had followed Huck to the

shore the night they were wrecked, but did not dare call out for fear of

being caught. In the last few days he has repaired the raft and bought

supplies to replace what was lost. The next day Huck learns that Sophie has

run off with a Shepardson boy. In the woods, Huck finds Buck and a nineteen-

year-old Grangerford in a gun-fight with the Shepardsons. The two are later

killed. Deeply disturbed, Huck heads for Jim and the raft, and the two

shove off downstream. Huck notes, "You feel mighty free and easy and

comfortable on a raft."

Huck and Jim are lazily drifting down the river in Chapter Nineteen.

One day they come upon two men on shore eeing some trouble and begging to

be let onto the raft. Huck takes them a mile downstream to safety. One man

is about seventy, bald, with whiskers, the other, thirty. Both men's

clothes are badly tattered. The men do not know each other but are in

similar predicaments. The younger man had been selling a paste to remove

tartar from teeth that takes much of the enamel off with it. He ran out to

avoid the locals' ire. The other had run a temperance (sobriety) revival

meeting, but had to ee after word got out that he drank. The two men, both

professional scam-artists, decide to team up. The younger man declares

himself an impoverished English duke, and gets Huck and Jim to wait on him

and treat him like royalty. The old man then reveals his true identity as

the Dauphin, Louis XVI's long lost son. Huck and Jim then wait on him as

they had the "duke." Soon Huck realizes the two are liars, but to prevent

"quarrels," does not let on that he knows.

Chapters 20-22 Summary

The Duke and Dauphin ask whether Jim is a runaway, and so Huckleberry

concocts a tale of how he was orphaned, and he and Jim were forced to

travel at night since so many people stopped his boat to ask whether Jim

was a runaway. That night, the two royals take Jim and Huck's beds while

they stand watch against a storm. The next morning, the Duke gets the

Dauphin to agree to put on a performance of Shakespeare in the next town

they cross. Everyone in the town has left for a revival meeting in the

woods. The meeting is a lively afiair of several thousand people singing

and shouting.

The Dauphin gets up and declares himself a former pirate, now reformed

by the meeting, who will return to the Indian Ocean as a missionary. The

crowd joyfully takes up a collection, netting the Dauphin eighty-seven

dollars and seventy-five cents, and many kisses from pretty young women.

Meanwhile, the Duke took over the deserted print offce and got nine and a

half dollars selling advertisements in the local newspaper. The Duke also

prints up a handbill offering a reward for Jim, so that they can travel

freely by day and tell whoever asks about Jim that the slave is their

captive. The Duke and Dauphin practice the balcony scene from Romeo and

Juliet and the sword fight from Richard III on the raft in Chapter Twenty-


The duke also works on his recitation of Hamlet's "To be or not to be,"

soliloquy, which he has butchered, throwing in lines from other parts of

the play, and even Macbeth. But to Huck, the Duke seems to possess a great

talent. They visit a one-horse town in Arkansas where lazy young men loiter

in the streets, arguing over chewing tobacco. The Duke posts handbills for

the performance. Huck witnesses the shooting of a rowdy drunk by a man,

Sherburn, he insulted, in front of the victim's daughter. A crowd gathers

around the dying man and then goes off to lynch Sherburn.

The mob charges through the streets in Chapter Twenty-two, sending

women and children running away crying in its wake. They go to Sherburn's

house, knock down the front fence, but back away as the man meets them on

the roof of his front porch, ri e in hand. After a chilling silence,

Sherburn delivers a haughty speech on human nature, saying the average

person, and everyone in the mob, is a coward. Southern juries don't convict

murderers because they rightly fear being shot in the back, in the dark, by

the man's family. Mobs are the most pitiful of all, since no one in them is

brave enough in his own right to commit the act without the mass behind

him. Sherburn declares no one will lynch him: it is daylight and the

Southern way is to wait until dark and come wearing masks. The mob

disperses. Huck then goes to the circus, a "splendid" show, whose clown

manages to come up with fantastic one-liners in a remarkably short amount

of time. A performer, pretending to be a drunk, forces himself into the

ring and tries to ride a horse, apparently hanging on for dear life. The

crowd roars its amusement, except for Huck, who cannot bear to watch the

poor man's danger. Only twelve people came to the Duke's performance, and

they laughed all the way through. So the Duke prints another handbill, this

time advertising a performance of "The King's Cameleopard [Girafie] or The

Royal Nonesuch." Bold letters across the bottom read, "Women and Children

Not Admitted."

Chapters 23-25 Summary

The new performance plays to a capacity audience. The Dauphin, naked

except for body paint and some "wild" accouterments, has the audience

howling with laughter. But the Duke and Dauphin are nearly attacked when

the show is ended after this brief performance. To avoid losing face, the

audience convinces the rest of the town the show is a smash, and a capacity

crowd follows the second night. As the Duke anticipated, the third night's

crowd consists of the two previous audiences coming to get their revenge.

The Duke and Huck make a getaway to the raft before the show starts. From

the three-night run, they took in four-hundred sixty-five dollars. Jim is

shocked that the royals are such "rapscallions." Huck explains that history

shows nobles to be rapscallions who constantly lie, steal, and

decapitate{describing in the process how Henry VIII started the Boston Tea

Party and wrote the Declaration of Independence. Huck doesn't see the point

in telling Jim the two are fakes; besides, they really do seem like the

real thing. Jim spends his night watches "moaning and mourning" for his

wife and two children, Johnny and Lizabeth. Though "It don't seem natural,"

Huck concludes that Jim loves his family as much as whites love theirs. Jim

is torn apart when he hears a thud in the distance, because it reminds him

of the time he beat his Lizabeth for not doing what he said, not realizing

she had been made deaf-mute by her bout with scarlet fever.

In Chapter Twenty-four, Jim complains about having to wait, frightened,

in the boat, tied up (to avoid suspicion) while the others are gone. So the

Duke dresses Jim in a calico stage robe and blue face paint, and posts a

sign, "Sick Arab{but harmless when not out of his head." Ashore and dressed

up in their newly bought clothes, the Dauphin decides to make a big

entrance by steamboat into the next town. The Dauphin calls Huck

"Adolphus," and encounters a talkative young man who tells him about the

recently deceased Peter Wilks. Wilks sent for his two brothers from

Shefield, England: Harvey, whom he had not seen since he was five, and

William, who is deaf-mute. He has left all his property to his brothers,

though it seems uncertain whether they will ever arrive. The Dauphin gets

the young traveler, who is en route to Rio de Janeiro, to tell him

everything about the Wilks. In Wilks' town, they ask after Peter Wilks,

pretending anguish when told of his death. The Dauphin even makes strange

hand signs to the Duke. "It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human

race," Huck thinks.

A crowd gathers before Wilks' house in Chapter Twenty-five, as the Duke

and Dauphin share a tearful meeting with the three Wilks daughters. The

entire town then joins in the "blubbering." "I never see anything so

disgusting," Huck thinks. Wilks' letter (which he left instead of a will)

leaves the house and three thousand dollars to his daughters, and to his

brothers, three thousand dollars, plus a tan-yard and seven thousand

dollars in real estate. The Duke and Dauphin privately count the money,

adding four-hundred fifteen dollars of their own money when the stash comes

up short of the letter's six-thousand, for appearances. They then give it

all to the Wilks women in a great show before a crowd of townspeople.

Doctor Abner Shackleford, an old friend of the deceased, interrupts to

declare them frauds, their accents ridiculously phony. He asks Mary Jane,

the oldest Wilks sister, to listen to him as a friend and turn the

impostors out. In reply, she hands the Dauphin the six thousand dollars to

invest however he sees fit.

Chapters 26-28 Summary

Huck has supper with Joanna, a Wilks sister he refers to as "the

Harelip" ("Cleft lip," a birth defect she possesses). She cross-examines

Huckleberry on his knowledge of England. He makes several slips, forgetting

he is supposedly from Shefield, and that the Dauphin is supposed to be a

Protestant minister.

Finally she asks whether he hasn't made the entire thing up. Mary Jane

and Susan interrupt and instruct Joanna to be courteous to their guest. She

graciously apologizes. Huck feels awful about letting such sweet women be

swindled. He resolves to get them their money. He goes to the Duke and

Dauphin's room to search for the money, but hides when they enter. The Duke

wants to leave that very night, but the Dauphin convinces him to stay until

they have stolen all the family's property. After they leave, Huckleberry

takes the gold to his sleeping cubby, and then sneaks out late at night.

Huck hides the sack of money in Wilks' coffn in Chapter Twenty-seven,

as Mary Jane, crying, enters the front room. Huck doesn't get another

opportunity to safely remove the money, and feels dejected that the Duke

and Dauphin will likely get it back. The funeral the next day is briefly

interrupted by the racket the dog is making down cellar. The undertaker

slips out, and after a "whack" is heard from downstairs, the undertaker

returns, whispering loudly to the preacher, "He had a rat!" Huck remarks

how the rightfully popular undertaker satisfied the people's natural


Huck observes with horror as the undertaker seals the coffn without

looking inside. Now he will never know whether the money was stolen from

the coffn, or if he should write Mary Jane to dig up the coffn for it.

Saying he will take the Wilks' family to England, the Dauphin sells off

the estate and the slaves. He sends a mother to New Orleans and her two

sons to Memphis. The scene at the grief-stricken family's separation is

heart-rending. But Huck comforts himself that they will be reunited in a

week or so when the Duke and Dauphin are exposed. When questioned by the

Duke and Dauphin, Huck blames the loss of the six thousand dollars on the

slaves they just sold, making the two regret the deed.

Huck finds Mary Jane crying in her bedroom in Chapter Twenty-eight. All

joy regarding the trip to England has been destroyed by the thought of the

slave mother and children never seeing each other again. Touched, Huck

unthinkingly blurts out that the family will be reunited in less than two

weeks. Mary Jane, overjoyed, asks Huck to explain. Huck is uneasy, having

little experience telling the truth while in a predicament. He tells Mary

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