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Chapter 27

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 27 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 27 | Summary

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Summary

When the duke and king go to sleep, Huck goes to hide the money. With the door locked and someone coming, Huck places the money in Peter Wilks's coffin. The next morning the funeral service is held. Huck is impressed by the undertaker who handles everything very smoothly. With the money buried along with Wilks, Huck feels like he has made things worse.

Back at the house after the funeral, the king says he needs to get back to England, and he will take his nieces with him. They are thrilled to go. The king puts the estate up for sale and sells the slaves. The girls feel badly that the slave family is broken apart.

On the day of the auction the duke and the king ask Huck if he was in their room or if he saw someone else there. Huck lies and says he saw the slaves go in there. The duke and the king believe him and are impressed with the show of sadness the slaves made when they were sold.

Analysis

The saying "it takes one to know one" is upended in this chapter. The duke and the king are liars and frauds. When they question Huck about the money and insist he be honest, it is laughable. What do they know about honesty? They are unable to spot Huck's lie and instead believe him. They can be just as easily fooled as those they fool. Similarly when Huck says it was the slaves who took the money, the duke and the king are impressed with what they now believe were false tears. As thieves who care nothing for anything that does not benefit themselves, they cannot recognize genuine feelings. The duke and the king do not recognize the tricks of their own trade.

When the slave family is broken up they are heartbroken. This scene along with Jim's reaction to being separated from his family in Chapter 23 reminds the reader of just how much the slaves care for each other. The narrative that the slaves only care about themselves is shown to be completely inaccurate. It is the duke and the king—two white people—who only care about themselves. The nieces are genuinely saddened at seeing the slave family broken up, and this is another example of their kindness and decency. Huck has made a wise decision to stand up for these girls.

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