Mark Twain – Huckleberry Finn, Chapters 13-16

Chapter 13 – Escaping from the Wreck — The Watchman — Sinking

  • Huck worried about being stuck on board of the wreck with a gang of murderous thieves. He & Jim sneaked around to the stern & saw no sign of their boat. They kept searching & searching until they found a skiff.
    • But before they could move towards it, one of the men stuck his head out of the window & yelled at another to pass him a lantern. He threw a bad into the boat & got on it himself. Another came out & told them to shove off. But the 1st one said they ought to get the money inside. They got off the boat & went inside, closing the door behind them.
    • Huck & Jim jumped on their boat & took off. They glided away as quietly as possible, cutting the tying rope. Within a moment, they were hundreds of yards away from the wreck & were safe. 300-400 yards away, they saw a lantern from the boat & realized that there’d be trouble on board.
    • Jim rowed towards their raft. Huck began to think how bad of a spot the murderers would be in. He told Jim to pull over in the next hiding spot for him & the skiff while he tied them both up & went to get someone for the gang on the wreck.
    • The idea didn’t work according to plan because the storm was getting worse. They could only keep moving along with the river. They were aboard the raft again. He took the skiff & rowed to the shore where he saw several lights. There he found a watchman.
    • Huck laid it on thick, crying to the watchman/captain/owner of the ship of how his family was stranded on the wreck after losing an oar crossing the river. They had to go there or flow downstream.
    • The captain told him to go into the village & tell someone about the situation while he went out in the river with a boat. Huck started to head toward the town until the captain was out of view. He watched the ferryboat going towards the wreck.
      • Huck was pleased with himself that he saved the gang, even though they were up to no go. He waited until Jim was able to meet with him & they took off until they reached an island & slept the rest of the night

Chapter 14 – A General Good Time — The Harem — French

  • After a while, Huck & Jim went through all the stuff the gang had stolen off the wreck – boots, blankets, clothes, books, a spyglass & 3 boxes of cigars. They had never had so much before in their lives. They hung out that afternoon, having fun.
    • Huck told Jim about what had happened in the wreck & with the ferryboat. Huck liked all the adventures but Jim didn’t want adventure. When he had gone to get the raft & found it gone, he felt it was all over for him. If he didn’t get saved, he’d drown. If he got saved, they’d send him back home & Miss Watson would sell him South. Jim was right about that.
    • In the books they found, Huck read about kings, dukes & earls to Jim, & how they dressed, their style & titles. The only one Jim knew of was Solomon & the ones in packs of cards. He was amazed that they had incredible amounts of money for doing nothing, except going to war, playing with Parliament & hanging around a harem, like Solomon.
      • Jim didn’t see the point in a harem because that many wives would get in arguments & that didn’t seem wise to Jim. He also didn’t understand the decision to cut a baby in half. What use would it be cut in half? If Solomon only had 2 children, he’d value them. If he had millions, he wouldn’t care if one got cut in half. Jim couldn’t be talked out of this way of thinking.
    • Huck talked about other kings like Louis XVI of France, who had his head cut off. They say they locked up his kid in jail & he died there, or maybe he went to America to teach French.
      • Jim was confused about the concept of French being another language. It sounded like noises to him. Huck had no success in explaining it to him.

Chapter 15 – Huck Loses the Raft — In the Fog — Huck Finds the Raft — Trash

  • It looked like it’d be another 3 days until they got to Cairo, where the Mississippi River met the Ohio River. They’d sell the raft & get on a steamboat to go to the free states.
    • The 2nd night, the fog came on thick & they moved toward a tow head. They’d have to tie themselves down & wait it out but there wasn’t anything to tie the raft to. The current was strong & took the raft away. Huck got in the  canoe to get the raft but he could only see 20 yards in front of him. He whooped & listened for a return whoop from Jim. He heard one far away & tried to move towards it.
    • Huck was having trouble finding it – it kept changing direction but then it got closer. However the current was making it difficult to steer & follow the noise. He sat still trying to listen but he forgot that he wasn’t just sitting still – he was flowing downstream at about 4-5 MPH.
    • He still heard the whoop but got bogged down in tow head mud. Once he was out in the open river again, he stopped hearing the whoops. Huck was exhausted & fell asleep. By the time he woke up, it was dark & the fog was gone. The river was enormous with thick timber on each side. He noticed a tiny speck downstream & flowed towards it. It was Jim sleeping on the raft with a smashed up oar, & branches & leaves all over the place.
  • Huck pretended to be asleep & make like the whole incident was something Jim had just dreamed up & never really happened.
    • Jim went crazy because it all seemed so real. He thought Huck had struck a rock & drowned. The prank really upset Jim. Huck had to go beg a black slave for forgiveness – something he wasn’t used to.

Chapter 16 – Expectation — A White Lie — Floating Currency — Running by Cairo — Swimming Ashore

  • They slept most of the day & moved that night. The raft they were behind was enormous, holding about 30 men & had 5 wigwams. The 2 were impressed with its size & the skill it must take to pilot it.
    • They started talking about Cairo & wondered how they’d know when they got there because it was small. Jim said they’d see 2 large rivers joining together. Huck warned him that that could just be the Mississippi being split in 2 by an island in it. They decided that Huck would go ashore & inquire about where they were, pretending he was waiting for his father to catch up. Jim was watching very closely for Cairo because it was one chance at freedom. He jumped for joy whenever he saw anything on the shore – there were many false alarms.
    • Huck began to feel nervous. Jim was almost free & he’d be the one to blame for it. He tried to convince himself he wasn’t the one who made Jim run away. But he could have told someone Jim was a runaway slave. What had Miss Watson ever done to him to make him keep quiet? She’d always been good to Huck.
      • Every time Jim announced he saw Cairo, he’d laugh & dance but Huck was filled with dread.
    • Jim talked about saving his money & buying his wife, near Miss Watson’s place & then they’d work to buy their children. If their master wouldn’t sell them, he’d get an abolitionist to go & steal them. Jim never dared to talk like that before but since he was so close to freedom, it was all he could think of, & it was all Huck’s fault. He was helping a runaway slave steal his children from a man who’d never done Huck any harm. He felt the need to tell someone. He told Jim that but Jim either didn’t hear him or ignored him. As Huck paddled away, Jim said if it hadn’t been for Huck, he’d still be a slave & that Huck was the best friend he’d ever had, as well as the only white man who’d kept a promise to him.
      • Huck felt he had to say something but a skiff came along & the 2 armed men on it asked him who was on his raft. Huck lied & said it was just 1 white man. One man said that 5 slaves had run off & he wanted to check the raft himself. Huck said it was only his Pap who was very sick, & he wanted a tow ashore.
      • He made the men believe that Pap had small pox. They told him to stay away & not to spread it around. They gave him 2 $20 gold coins to help his family out. Huck went back to the raft feeling bad for not doing the right thing. Then he thought he had done the right thing after all. But, would giving Jim up make him feel any better? No. But he still didn’t feel right as it was. From then, he’d only do what was convenient at the time.
    • He went into the wigwam & told Jim that the coast was clear. Jim was impressed with how Huck got the men to stay away & then get $40 from them which would more than pay their passage on the riverboat to the free states.
      • They couldn’t figure out which city Cairo was. Huck asked one man but he only insulted him for not knowing. They began to think that they’d passed it in the fog. The water in Cairo was supposed to be clear but this water was muddy. They pulled over & slept on the banks. When they woke up, the canoe was gone. This must have been from the bad luck with the rattlesnake incident.
      • They decided to go to the next town to buy a canoe & paddle back up to Cairo. This was at a point in the river that was winding. A steamboat piloted carelessly crashed into their raft. Huck jumped off one side & Jim jumped off the other.
        • When Huck came to the surface, he shouted out for Jim but heard no response. He swam to the shore & walked towards a log cabin where a bunch of dogs began to howl at him.

Author: knowit68

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