The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Plot Summary

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been considered one of the great American novels. In many ways, Huck stands as a representation of the American frontier spirit, stifled by Protestant civility and convention. Having a natural urge and yearning for independence, Huck is led on a journey down the Mississippi with the runaway slave Jim. Huck demonstrates a longing for kinship and a loyalty to friends as well as several other natural virtues. Along the way he meets various persons who range in character from good to bad. Ultimately, Huck rejects the conventional culture offered him by Tom Sawyer, the Widow, Miss Watson, and Aunt Sally, and fully embraces his independent spirit as he looks to “light out for the territory ahead of the rest.”

The novel begins in St. Petersburg, with Huck narrating to the reader how he has been given a home by the Widow Douglas. He does not much care for the conventional life and longs for his old carefree days. Eventually, he begins to appreciate school and learns to read and write. He, Tom and the rest of the gang participate in various activities, but none of those activities leads to any great adventure

One day Huck’s Pap returns to claim Huck and Huck’s gold for himself. The trouble is the Judge won’t allow Pap to get it. The Widow does not like Pap hanging around and causing trouble, so Pap decides to teach them all a lesson by abducting Huck and taking him back to the woods with him.

Just when Huck was getting used to his new life, he is re-introduced to his old. However, the change does not bother him much; in fact, he quickly begins to enjoy his Pap’s lifestyle and wonders how he ever managed to live in civilization. Unfortunately, the life in the woods has its downsides—and Pap is the major one: sometimes he gets so drunk that Huck fears for his life. Finally, Huck decides he has to escape for his own good, and to keep Pap from looking for him again, he fakes his own death.

Using a canoe he found floating down the river, Huck sets off for...

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