The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
Contributed by Cinderella Domino
Chapter 5
Summary

Huck, disguised as a girl, knocks on the first door that he reaches. Even though the woman doesn’t quite believe his story, she does tell him that Jim is suspected of having killed someone and that a search party is planning to search the island that night.

Upon hearing this, Huck leaves as quickly as possible and returns to the island. Jim and he pack their belongings and leave on the raft.

The next day they decide to build a cover over the raft to protect themselves from the weather. They also realize that it will be safer to anchor during the daytime and travel at night.

One night, during a storm, they float next to a wrecked steamboat. They go on board and hear voices. They listen and learn that a murder is being planned. Becoming fearful, they try to leave. Unbeknown to them, the raft has broken free and they cannot leave.

They find the rowboat in which the murderers were planning to escape and Huck and Jim are able to get away. They find their raft further downstream as they pass a ferryboat with a watchman on deck. Huck, wanting to help the "rapscallions" who he and Jim had stranded, tells this man that he is from the wrecked steamboat (ironically named the Walter Scott) and that his family is still on board.

Huck feels quite proud of himself for not having left the men stranded.

Analysis

Huck again shows his immaturity by putting them both at risk by boarding the sinking steamboat, especially when he discovers there are robbers on board. He shows no consideration at all for Jim who has much more to lose by being captured.  He would certainly lose his freedom, and possibly even his life.

Huck’s behavior is similar to that of Tom Sawyer.  In Tom’s gang they had no adventures, just make-believe, but Huck sees an opportunity to have a real adventure.

However, Huck does show some improved morals feeling guilty at the possible death of the criminals on the sinking wreck if he stands by and does nothing.  His solution to send innocent people on the ferry to rescue a group of known criminals is certainly questionable. Still it is a first step in Huck’s development and he is losing some of his self-centeredness.

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