The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Chapter 15 to Chapter 21

Chapter 15

Huck and Jim aim for Cairo, where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi and plan to sell the raft and buy tickets for a steamer that will take them northward to the free states. However, a massive fog rolls in and, while Huck tries to tie off the raft so as not to float past their destination in the fog, the raft gets loose and Huck gets separated from Jim. In the canoe, Huck follows blindly after Jim but it is not till the fog clears up, that Huck is able to locate the raft again.

Jim has fallen asleep by the time Huck has caught up. One of the oars has been smashed off, and branches and leaves are scattered about, showing that Jim did not fare too easily through fog. But when Huck wakes Jim, Huck pretends that they were never separated and that Jim dreamed the whole thing. Jim at first cannot believe it, but Huck insists so Jim goes on to interpret the dream. Finally, Huck tells Jim to interpret the leaves and branches as well—and Jim realizes that Huck has tricked him. Jim then makes Huck feel bad by saying that the interpretation is this: that Jim cared so much for Huck that he didn’t care what happened to him just so long as Huck was safe and sound, and that when Huck came back all he cared about was making a fool of Jim. Then Jim went and lay down and Huck felt ashamed, so he apologized to Jim, confessing to the reader that he “humbled” himself to a “nigger.”

In this chapter, Huck realizes that it is mean to play tricks on someone who cares for you. While he displays a kind of childlike mischievousness by tricking Jim, he also shows that he is capable of humility and remorse, and he makes it up to Jim by apologizing. In this way, Jim’s role as a father figure is given more credibility, and Huck’s adolescence is given a boost toward maturity.

Chapter 16

The two continue to drift onwards and talk of Cairo. Jim’s talk of becoming a “free” man begins to aggravate Huck’s conscience. He does not like Jim’s...

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