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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 43 | Summary

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Summary

Huck asks Tom what the plan would have been if they had escaped. Tom was hoping to have some more adventures, tell Jim the truth, bring him home in style, and pay him for his troubles.

The chains are taken off of Jim. When Aunt Polly and Aunt Sally hear about how Jim helped Tom, they make a big fuss over him. Tom gives Jim forty dollars. Tom suggests they go for adventures on the raft, and Huck is interested. He says he has no money because Pap would have used all of his reward money for alcohol. But then Jim tells Huck that Pap is dead, revealing that it was Mr. Finn he had seen dead in the house floating down the river near Jackson Island. Huck decides to leave for the territories because Aunt Sally wants to adopt and civilize him, and he wants no more of that.

Analysis

Huck's final lines are reminiscent of his first lines: "Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it." However, Huck will no longer accept being civilized by such people. Huck's desire to go West mimics America's expansion to the West. To "go west" was to find one's destiny and escape laws and rules. Through his journey Huck has seen what the South has to offer and the way its people behave, and he wants no part of it anymore. Huck's coming-of-age gives him the confidence to move forward on his own and the vision to see a different future.

The novel was written 20 years after the Civil War. African Americans were no longer slaves but conditions after Reconstruction had not improved much. This novel contributes to that discussion. Twain paints an ugly picture of the ways of the South. Mob rule is consistently an issue. Even children exhibit racism, and religion offers no positive alternative. There's an obsession with honor, and death is glorified. Battlefield victories matter, but to Twain attitude changes are even more crucial.

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