The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
Contributed by Cinderella Domino
Chapter 12
Summary

Huck decides to go to the Phelps’ house with a view to rescuing Jim. He will have to pose as Tom Sawyer in order to gain access to the house.  The mistress of the house, Sally, comes out to see the boy she is certain is her nephew Tom. He explains his delay is due to an explosion on the steamboat and she asks if anyone was hurt. He says no, but it killed a black person.  Huck hears a steamboat passing up the river and on the pretence of collecting his luggage; he leaves the house in order to head off Tom in case he should arrive.

He meets Tom who is startled by the ghost of Huck and he agrees to help Huck free Jim.

Tom arrives at the Phelps’ house half-an-hour later and introduces himself as another relative Sid Sawyer.  Huck goes into town and discovers that Duke and Dauphin have been tarred and feathered and lynched. Apparently Jim had revealed the truth about the two in revenge for having been sold for $40.00.

Huck finds out that Jim is being held in a shed and he discusses with Tom the best way to secure Jim’s release.  He proposes that they should steal the key, release Him and make their escape.

Tom totally disagrees with this saying that there is no adventure in this plan and proposed that they dig a tunnel in order to secure Jim’s release. They will use large kitchen knives in order to dig the tunnel and they should also take a saw in order to cut through the chains or even saw Jim’s leg off if necessary.

Tom says that the escape must be done in accordance with what he has read in books, so they will also need a rope ladder, a moat whatever that is, and a shirt on which to keep a journal, presumably in his own blood.

Analysis

The character of Tom Sawyer comes back into our storyline and he is even larger than life than before. The double act is back together again, Tom bringing his flamboyant flair to proceedings.  Tom hatches an intricate plot in order to free Jim, which initially impresses Huck.

At last a lynching does take place involving the evil pair Duke and Dauphin and by all accounts this was a most cruel and violent end to these wicked rascals.

Though Huck and Jim have been coldly abused by these two criminals Huck still shows humanity by feeling sorry for their fate.

Twain again demonstrates the evil side of southern life.

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