The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 22

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 22 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 22 | Summary



The loud angry mob goes to Sherburn's house and is ready to extract revenge. Sherburn appears on the roof with a gun in his hand and looks down on the crowd. They stop in their tracks. Sherburn stands tall and insults the crowd, calling them cowards and telling them they do not have the guts to take action. Cowed by his speech and his gun, the mob breaks up and leaves.

Huck goes to the circus and is very impressed with it. After the circus the Shakespeare play goes on and only a handful of people show up. The duke has a new sign printed up about a show entitled "Royal Nonesuch." The sign includes a note at the bottom: "LADIES AND CHILDREN NOT ADMITTED."


Sherburn is fearless and shows guts when he delivers his speech. Rather than being a man who feels threatened and is concerned for his life, Sherburn delivers a blistering takedown of the crowd. While previous chapters have poked fun at Southern honor, this speech essentially says there is no such thing. Men pretend to be brave, fear vengeance, and only act at night with masks and other cowardly apparel. The takedown is thorough and thought provoking.

Not surprisingly the duke and the king's play is a big failure. This contrasts with the circus, which had a big crowd. The circus audience exhibits an odd sense of humor when they laugh at the drunken man riding the wild horse. Based on the crowd responses the duke and the king change their act. The townspeople are a hard and odd lot.

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