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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 33

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 33 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 33 | Summary



On his way into town Huck finds Tom Sawyer who at first thinks he is seeing a ghost. After Huck convinces Tom that he is not a ghost, he explains the situation. He tells Tom about helping Jim but does not want to discuss it. He does ask for help and Tom agrees, which shocks Huck.

Tom comes to the Phelps farm after Huck returns and introduces himself as William Thompson and tells a long story. During dinner he gets up and kisses Aunt Sally who is very upset by this. Tom acts surprised and says everyone said she would want him to. Aunt Sally is confused. Finally Tom reveals he is Sid, her other nephew and Tom's brother.

Huck is anxious to hear about Jim but does not ask. During dinner one of the children asks about going to a show. Uncle Silas says the runaway slave warned him about the show. Huck and Tom sneak out of the house. They catch each other up on what has been going on. They then see the duke and the king being driven through the streets tarred and feathered. Huck pities them.


The majority of the book so far has focused on Huck's moral dilemma about whether or not to help Jim escape slavery. The decision to do so only happens with great thought and observation. Even so, Huck is convinced that people will look at him differently. However, he feels he already is viewed this way because of his role in society. He says to Tom, "I know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty low-down business; but what if it is?—I'm low down." Huck believes he has nothing to lose by helping Jim, so answering to his conscience is more important.

On the other hand Tom is part of society. While he likes to act out the adventures he reads about, Tom also wants to be accepted by a society where slavery is the accepted standard. Therefore his willingness to help Jim is shocking. Huck says, "I'm bound to say Tom Sawyer fell considerable in my estimation. Only I couldn't believe it. Tom Sawyer a nigger-stealer!" It's ironic that Tom is lessened in Huck's eyes for his willingness to do the same thing that Huck is doing. Something is clearly amiss.

After seeing how the duke and the king are treated Huck says, "Human beings can be awful cruel to one another." While this may be true, the duke and the king are examples of people treating each other cruelly. Huck has seen their scams and people hurt by them, yet he expresses pity for the duke and the king. Huck's compassion and willingness to forgive are admirable.

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