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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 24

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 24 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 24 | Summary



Jim is tired of being in ropes and pretending he is a runaway slave. The duke comes up with a plan to allow Jim more freedom. He paints Jim blue, dresses him as King Lear, and places a sign on the raft that says, "Sick Arab—but harmless when not out of his head."

The duke goes ashore at the next town in search of a scheme. The king gets dressed up, and he and Huck head toward a steamboat. On the way they pick up a man (later identified as Tim Collins) who tells them a local man, Peter Wilks, just died. Wilks, who is wealthy, left his estate to his brothers who have yet to arrive from England. The king asks many questions and is interested in each detail. He and Huck take Collins to the steamboat.

After returning to shore, the king has Huck get the duke, so he can tell him the story. They then make plans to arrive at the town by another steamboat. When they arrive, they claim to be Wilks's long-lost brothers, Harvey and William Wilks, with Huck in tow as their servant. The scheme works, the crowd gathers around to commiserate with the fake Wilks brothers, and Huck feels "ashamed of the human race."


Huck feels disgust at the duke and the king's behavior. With all he has seen over the course of his escape, he says he has never seen anything like it and feels ashamed of humanity. Yet not only does Huck do nothing to rid himself of the duke and the king, he participates in their scams. Huck's lack of power in the society is underscored even further. Despite this Huck's conscience seems to be awakening, and his comments foreshadow future action.

Based on the reception that the duke and the king get at the end of the chapter, the people of the town will be duped. The people that Huck and Jim come across, other than the duke and the king, continue to show negative character traits. They have been dumb, foolish, mean, violent, and gullible. On top of these traits, the people participate in maintaining the institution of slavery. If these characters are meant to represent the people actually found in the South, Twain has written a stinging rebuke of his one-time home.

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