American Literature books summary

In America in the early years of the 18th century, some writers, such as Cotton Mather, carried on the older

American Literature books summary

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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-one.

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 talkat

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