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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 32

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 32 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 32 | Summary



Huck arrives at the Phelps farm in search of Jim. He approaches the house without a plan, instead trusting in "Providence." Dogs surround him, and slaves come out to chase off the dogs. Behind them is the woman of the house. She greets Huck as if she were waiting for him and calls him "Tom." The woman instructs Huck to call her Aunt Sally and her husband Uncle Silas. When Uncle Silas gets back from waiting for Tom, Aunt Sally introduces Huck as Tom Sawyer. They are thrilled to have him and besiege him with questions.

Huck is relieved to be Tom Sawyer since he knows the role. His only concern is what he will do when Tom comes, so he goes to look for him.


As Chapter 31 ends Huck says he is going to help Jim even if it means he is going to hell. As he approaches the Phelps farm, Huck talks about death and wishing he were dead. However, he carries on and turns to "Providence" (with a capital P). Despite his earlier claim, Huck believes in something and puts his fate in the hands of Providence. He wants to go on but is tired of the games.

To answer why he was late, Huck says something blew up on the boat. Aunt Sally asks if anyone was hurt, and he responds, "No'm. Killed a nigger." Huck's response implies that because it was a slave who died, it does not matter. Aunt Sally clearly would agree with the implication based on her response, "Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt." Clearly blacks do not count as "people." Huck is there to save the life of a slave, so how could he make such a callous statement about the death of a black person? His response seems to be part of his role/story, and he knows how Aunt Sally will let this comment go and not ask any questions. This means fewer questions for him to answer and possibly slip up on. Huck's revelation is too dramatic for him to truly have this attitude, though it is not simple to change long-held beliefs. He could say these words without thinking of their greater meaning.

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