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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Study Guide

Mark Twain

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Chapter 7

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 7 of Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn | Chapter 7 | Summary



Pap wakes the next morning and does not recall what occurred the previous night. When Huck awakes Pap asks him why he has a gun. Huck tells Pap that someone came around and tried to get in.

Pap sends Huck out to check to see if they have any fish on their line. Huck finds a canoe drifting along the rising river. He takes the canoe and hides it from Pap with the intention of using it to escape.

Later Huck tries to come up with a plan that will keep Pap and the widow from following him when he escapes. That afternoon, after Pap sets out for town and locks Huck in the cabin, Huck puts his plan into action. First Huck saws out of the cabin and fills the canoe with supplies. He then stages his own death by smashing the cabin door with an ax, cutting the throat of a wild pig, and letting the blood drip on the cabin floor. He puts some of his hair on the bloodied ax and makes a trail of flour leading to a lake.

Huck goes to the canoe and falls asleep. When he awakens it's night and he hears another boat. He recognizes Pap who passes him by. Huck takes off and makes it to his destination: Jackson's Island.


Huck shows his intelligence and self-reliance by the plan he conceives and puts into action. He not only wants to get away but wants to avoid being searched for. When Huck needs to come up with a plan he has the patience to spend time formulating an idea. This is in contrast to Pap. As soon as Pap gets the wood that he can sell, he heads straight to town to sell it. An intelligent person is generally more patient as he or she is able to foresee consequences and act accordingly. Huck shows adult qualities by delaying gratification, while Pap is childlike in his need for instant gratification.

While making his plan to leave, Huck notes that he wants to be free of his father and the widow. He wants to be in charge of his own destiny and has had enough of adults. One tries to change him by civilizing him, while the other uses force to uncivilize him. Huck does not want to be with either one of them or even in the world of adulthood. Rather, Huck seeks comfort in the river, something he finds instantly as he falls asleep just after getting into the canoe. The water/canoe will come to be a place where decency rules and there is freedom from the rules of society.

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