Рефераты. American Literature books summary

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

Jane the truth, but asks her to wait at a relative's house until eleven

that night to give him time to get away, since the fate of another person

hangs in the balance. He tells her about the Royal Nonesuch incident,

saying that town will provide witnesses against the frauds. He instructs

her to leave without seeing her "uncles," since her innocent face would

give away their secret. He leaves her a note with the location of the

money. She promises to remember him forever, and pray for him. Though Huck

will never see her again, he will think of her often. Huck meets Susan and

Joanna, and says Mary Jane has gone to see a sick relative. Joanna cross-

examines him about this, but he manages to trick them into staying quiet

about the whole thing{almost as well as Tom Sawyer would have. But later,

the auction is interrupted by a mob{ bringing the real Harvey and William


Chapters 29-31 Summary

The real Harvey, in an authentic English accent, explains the delay:

their luggage has been misdirected, and his brother's arm has been broken,

making him unable to sign. The doctor again declares The Duke and Dauphin

frauds, and has the crowd bring both real and fraudulent Wilks brothers to

a tavern for examination. The frauds draw suspicion when they are unable to

produce the six thousand dollars. A lawyer friend of the deceased has the

Duke, Dauphin, and the real Harvey sign a piece of paper, then compares the

writing samples to letters he has from the real Harvey.

The frauds are disproved, but the Dauphin doesn't give up. So the real

Harvey declares he knows of a tattoo on his brother's chest, asking the

undertaker who dressed the body to back him up. But after the Dauphin and

Harvey say what they think the tattoo is, the undertaker declares there

wasn't one at all. The mob cries out for the blood of all four men, but the

lawyer instead sends them out to exhume the body and check for the tattoo

themselves. The mob carries the four and Huckleberry with them. The mob is

shocked to discover the gold in the coffn. In the excitement, Huck escapes.

Passing the Wilks's house, he notices a light in the upstairs window.

Huck steals a canoe and makes his way to the raft, and, exhausted,

shoves off. Huck dances for joy on the raft, but his heart sinks as the

Duke and Dauphin approach in a boat.

The Dauphin nearly strangles Huck in Chapter Thirty, out of anger at

his desertion. But the Duke stops him. They explain that they escaped after

the gold was found. The thieves start arguing about which one of the two

hid the gold in the coffn, to come back for later. But they make up and go

to sleep.

They take the raft downstream without stopping for several days. The

Duke and Dauphin try several scams on various towns, without success. The

two start to have secret discussions, worrying Jim and Huck, who resolve to

ditch them at the first opportunity. Finally, the Duke, Dauphin, and Huck

go ashore in one town to feel it out. The Duke and Dauphin get into a fight

in a tavern, and Huck takes the chance to escape. But back at the raft,

there is no sign of Jim. A boy explains that a man recognized Jim as a

runaway from a handbill they had found, offering two hundred dollars for

him in New Orleans{the handbill the Duke had printed earlier. But he said

he had to leave suddenly, and so sold his interest for forty dollars. Huck

is disgusted by the Dauphin's trick. He would like to write to Miss Watson

to fetch Jim, so he could at least be home and not in New Orleans. But he

realizes she would simply sell him downstream anyway, and he would get in

trouble as well. The predicament is surely God's punishment for his helping

Jim. Huck tries to pray for forgiveness, but cannot.

He writes the letter to Miss Watson giving Jim up. But thinking of the

time he spent with Jim, of his kind heart and their friendship, Huck

trembles. After a minute he decides, "All right then, I'll go to hell!" He

resolves to "steal Jim out of slavery." He goes in his store-bought clothes

to see Phelps, the man who is holding Jim. He finds the Duke putting up

posters for the Royal Nonesuch. Huck concocts a story about how he wandered

the town, but didn't find Jim or the raft. The Duke says he sold Jim to a

man forty miles away, and sends Huck on the three day trip to get him.

Chapters 32-35 Summary

Huck goes back to the Phelps's house in Chapter Thirty-two. A bunch of

hounds threaten him, but a slave woman calls them off. The white mistress

of the house, Sally, comes out, delighted to see the boy she is certain is

her nephew, Tom. Sally asks why he has been delayed the last several days.

He explains that a cylinder- head on the steamboat blew out. She asks

whether anyone got hurt, and he replies no, but it killed a black person.

The woman is relieved that no one was hurt. Huck is nervous about not

having any information on his identity, but when Sally's husband, Silas,

returns, he shouts out for joy that Tom Sawyer has finally arrived! Hearing

a steamboat go up the river, Huck heads out to the docks, supposedly to get

his luggage, but really to head off Tom should he arrive.

Huck interrupts Tom's wagon coming down the road in Chapter Thirty-

three. Tom is at first startled by the "ghost," but is eventually convinced

that Huck is alive. He even agrees to help Huck free Jim. Huck is shocked

by this: "Tom Sawyer fell, considerable, in my estimation." Tom follows

Huck to the Phelps's a half hour later. The isolated family is thrilled to

have another guest. Tom introduces himself as William Thompson from Ohio,

stopping on his way to visit his uncle nearby. But Tom slips and kisses his

aunt, who is outraged by such familiarity from a stranger. Taken aback for

a few moments, Tom recovers by saying he is another relative, Sid Sawyer,

and this has all been a joke. Later, walking through town, Huck sees the

Duke and Dauphin taken by a mob, tarred and feathered on a rail. Jim had

told on the pair. Tom feels bad for the two, and his ill feelings toward

them melt away. "Human beings can be awful cruel to one another," Huck


Huck concludes that a conscience is useless, since it makes you feel

bad for everyone. Tom agrees. Huck is impressed by Tom's intelligence when

he skillfully figures out that Jim is being held in a shed. Huck's plan to

free Jim is to steal the key and make off with Jim by night. Tom belittles

this plan for its simplicity and lack of showmanship. Tom's plan is fifteen

times better than Huck's for its style{it might even get all three killed.

Meanwhile, Huck is incredulous that respectable Tom is going to sacrifice

his reputation by helping a slave escape.

Huck and Tom get Jim's keeper, a superstitious slave, to let them see

him. When Jim cries out for joy, Tom tricks Jim's keeper into thinking the

cry a trick some witches had played on him. Tom and Huck promise to dig Jim


Tom is upset in Chapter Thirty-five. Innocent uncle Phelps has taken so

few precautions to guard Jim, they have to invent all the obstacles to his

rescue. Tom says they must saw Jim's chain off instead of just lifting it

off the bedstead, since that's how it's done in all the books. Similarly,

Jim requires a rope ladder, a moat, and a shirt on which to keep a journal,

presumably in his own blood. Sawing his leg off to escape would also be a

nice touch. But since they're pressed for time, they will dig Jim out with

case-knives (large kitchen knives).

Chapters 36-39 Summary

Out late at night, Huck and Tom give up digging with the case-knives

after much fruitless efiort. They use pick-axes instead, but agree to "let

on"{pretend{that they are using case-knives. The next day, Tom and Huck

gather candlesticks, candles, spoons, and a tin plate. Jim can etch a

declaration of his captivity on the tin plate using the other objects, then

throw it out the window to be read by the world, like in the novels. That

night, the two 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. He

doesn't understand the boys' scheme but agrees to go along. Tom thinks the

whole thing enormously fun and "intellectural." He tricks Jim's keeper,

Nat, into bringing Jim a "witch pie" to help ward off the witches that have

haunted Nat.

The missing shirt, candles, sheets, and other articles Huck and Tom

stole to give Jim get Aunt Sally mad at everyone but the two boys in

Chapter Thirty-seven. To make up, Huck and Tom secretly plug up the holes

of the rats that have supposedly stolen everything, confounding Uncle Silas

when he goes to do the job. By removing and then replacing sheets and

spoons, the two boys so confuse Sally that she loses track of how many she

has. It takes a great deal of trouble to put the rope ladder (made of

sheets) in the witch's pie, but at last it is finished and they give it to

Jim. Tom insists Jim scratch an inscription on the wall of the shed, with

his coat of arms, the way the books say. Making the pens from the spoons

and candlestick is a great deal of trouble, but they manage. Tom creates an

unintentionally humorous coat of arms and set of mournful declarations for

Jim to inscribe on the wall. When Tom disapproves of writing on a wooden,

rather than a stone wall, they go steal a millstone. Tom then tries to get

Jim to take a rattlesnake or rat into the shack to tame, and to grow a ower

to water with his tears. Jim protests against the ridiculously unnecessary

amount of trouble Tom wants to create. Tom replies that these are

opportunities for greatness.

Huck and Tom capture rats and snakes in Chapter Thirty-nine,

accidentally infesting the Phelps house with them. Aunt Sally becomes

wildly upset when the snakes start to fall from the rafters onto her or her

bed. Tom explains that that's just how women are. Jim, meanwhile, hardly

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