The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 36

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 36 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 36 | Summary



The boys start digging with knives to get under Jim's cabin. They make little progress, and Huck is frustrated with the lack of progress. Tom is disappointed, but he decides in the interest of time they need to use picks. Huck is happy and says to Tom, "your head gets leveler and leveler all the time, Tom Sawyer."

The next night the boys dig into Jim's cabin. He's happy to see them and is ready to go. Instead Tom tells him about the plans, which Jim finds senseless but he goes along anyway. Huck and Tom give Jim a candlestick and tin plates to write with.

Tom convinces Nat, the man who brings Jim his food, that he needs to make a witch pie for Jim to rid himself of the witches haunting him. The plan is to put the sheet ladder in the pie.


Tom's ideas are very silly. Jim, an adult, sees this as well and would like to escape at the first opportunity. However, Jim agrees to go along with the silly plans. Jim's reasoning seems to be that Tom is free and educated so, surely he must know better. As a slave Jim is used to being told what to do and listening to the instructions of others. He lacks a voice even in matters as central to him as his own freedom. Because Jim has been treated this way his whole life, he lacks the self-assuredness to stand up for himself and argue with Tom.

While Huck is white and free, he is like Jim in that he defers to Tom. Huck's frustration level with Tom and his plans is growing. He praises Tom about being levelheaded and goes on about being practical. Huck also is frustrated when he makes suggestions and Tom ignores them. Despite his talk and frustration Huck goes along with Tom's over-the-top plan.

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