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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 34

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 34 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 34 | Summary



Tom figures out they are keeping Jim in the shed. Huck is impressed by the way Tom figures this out. They hash out plans to free Jim. Huck's is too simple for Tom. On the other hand Tom's plan is elaborate and full of style, but Huck says it might get them killed. Huck still cannot believe someone like Tom would help free a slave. He considers trying to talk Tom out of it but does not do so.

The boys go to the hut and notice a hole in the wall through which Jim can escape, but Tom insists they dig a hole. The next day they follow a superstitious slave, Nat, who is taking food to Jim. When Jim sees Huck and Tom, he calls out to them. The slave wonders how they know each other, but they pretend that nothing was said. When Nat is distracted Tom whispers to Jim that they plan on helping him escape by digging a hole.


With Tom's entrance Huck takes a secondary role. He defers to Tom and his elaborate plans. Huck has been self-reliant ever since he escaped from his father. Yet he slips back into a dependent role when Tom arrives. Huck is impressed with Tom's insistence on style, but he recognizes that his plan is dangerous. Despite all he has gone through Huck does not have the gumption to stand up to Tom and insist they follow his way. Instead the boys and the book will follow the silly adventures of Tom Sawyer. The elements of farce and comedy return.

At this point the reader is left to wonder if Tom really cares about freeing Jim or if he sees this as another opportunity to participate in an adventure. Unlike Huck who came to his decision to free Jim after much introspection, Tom seems to be playing a game. After all it is only a slave he is talking about and Tom, like his aunt, may not think slaves matter all that much.

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