The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 25

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 25 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 25 | Summary

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Summary

The duke and the king make their way to the Wilkses' home, and the townspeople gather. At the house the nieces hug them and cry. The townspeople cry too. The duke and the king look at their "brother" who is in the coffin. The king gives a speech thanking everyone for their sympathy and talks to people individually to learn more details. Meanwhile the duke, who is supposed to be impersonating the deaf and dumb William Wilks, says nothing but makes signs with his hands and spouts gibberish, like "Goo-goo—goo-goo-goo."

Mary Jane, a niece of the deceased whom Huck describes as beautiful, brings the will to the king who reads it aloud. The will notes where $6000 in gold is hidden. The duke and king get the money but find it is a little short. They make up the money with their own, so things don't seem suspicious. The king makes a speech and then gives the money to the nieces in order to win the townspeople over.

Doctor Robinson, a family friend, finds the king's British accent laughable and accuses the men of being frauds. The nieces defend the king and give him the money to invest. The doctor walks away, telling the sisters they'll pay for their mistake.

Analysis

The king manipulates the crowd with his words and tears. Like an actor who has remembered his lines, the king uses the information he has gained to his advantage. Giving away the money to the nieces comes off as selfless. It proves to be a wise investment because, when accusations are hurled at the duke and the king, the townspeople defend them and the nieces give them the money as a show of faith. The townspeople lap up the king's flattery and have no suspicions that they are being lied to. Their simplicity is pathetic.

Doctor Robinson, however, recognizes the king and the duke for the frauds they are. The British accent is awful and the duke's impersonation of someone deaf and blind is ridiculous. Like Sherburn he has a keen sense of human behavior and is spot on in his assessment of people. Also like Sherburn the doctor comes off as a lone wolf, and his intelligence sets him above the people even though his words go unheeded.

Huck is sick of the duke and the king at this point and finds their act pathetic. However, the reader cannot help but suspect that if Huck were in the crowd, he would act similarly. While Huck has shown himself to be perceptive, he is also unworldly and therefore gullible like the townspeople.

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