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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 40

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 40 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 40 | Summary



Fifteen armed farmers gather at the house at night. Huck, who is in a panic, runs to tell Tom instead of going to sleep as Aunt Sally instructs. Tom is excited about the turn of events. As they are ready to take Jim out, the farmers come. Huck, Tom, and Jim escape through the hole they dug.

Tom makes a noise and the farmers start shooting as the boys and Jim make a run for it. They make it to the raft, and Jim is a free man. Then Tom reveals he has been shot in the calf. Jim insists that Huck go for a doctor while he stays with Tom.


Tom never gives up on adventure. When he learns of the armed farmers, he is excited. Even when he is shot and bleeding, he gives instructions on how to get the doctor. This surely mimics the scenes he has read about in his adventure books. Tom is an incorrigible showman who cannot take anything seriously.

Jim's insistence on getting a doctor for Tom despite the fact that it endangers his chance for freedom is heroic. Yet again Jim shows his decency and puts others above himself. While Twain wrote the book twenty years after the Civil War and African Americans were freed, they still were not highly regarded. While Huck is the protagonist of the book, the character that is consistently heroic is Jim. He is ready to give up what he wants the most—his freedom—because of his concern for Tom who takes Jim's escape and drive for freedom as a reason to stage an adventure.

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