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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 15

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 15 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 15 | Summary



Huck and Jim are striving to make it to Cairo, Illinois, where they can take a steamboat up the Ohio to the free states. They estimate it will take three more days. On the second day a thick fog appears. Huck is in the canoe and Jim is on the raft. Huck follows the raft for a while but eventually he and Jim get separated. Exhausted from all the effort and disoriented due to the fog, Huck decides to go to sleep. The next morning he finds Jim who is asleep on the raft.

Huck wakes Jim up and pretends the whole experience was a dream. Jim, who was thrilled to see Huck, eventually believes it. However, when Huck asks about the debris on the raft, Jim realizes that it was not a dream. He is angry at Huck for making a fool of him. Huck feels badly about the trick and apologizes to Jim.


When Huck and Jim become separated, Huck makes every effort to find Jim and the raft. It is clear that Huck enjoys Jim's company and does not want to be alone. However, for Jim the relationship has greater meaning, and his care for Huck is genuine. He is heart-broken when Huck disappears, and he has tears of joy when he wakes up to find Huck back and safe. So when Huck makes up the story about the dream, Jim is deeply hurt and feels as if he has been treated like a fool. He reprimands Huck and says only "trash" treats a friend like that.

In every way this scene puts Huck in the role of child and Jim in the role of parent. Huck acts silly and plays tricks. Jim, like most parents would be, is emotional upon reconnecting with Huck. A parent lectures a child when he or she has done wrong and instructs about proper behavior.

While Huck's apology to Jim is clearly called for, it is a major event. In the pre-Civil War South, one rule was "a white man is always right." A white man would be looked down upon if he stooped to apologizing to a black man.

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