Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 13-20

In chapter 13 Huck and Jim get off the wreck. They think that they're in trouble but the murderers have to get off their boat to go back and loot more off of the wrecked ship. Huck and Jim take this opportunity and steal the murderers boat. They go partially down the river and Huck begins to feel guilty, he decides they should stop if they see a light and get help.  The come across a ferry and Huck gets on and tells the captain that his family is on the wreck and asked if he would go look for them.  Huck said that he had an Uncle Hornback and with that the man went to work.  Huck quickly went down river and finally found Jim's light.  When Huck finally got to the light it was beginning to get light so they hid their raft, sunk the boat and fell asleep.

All through chapter 14 Huck and Jim banter back and forth.  They first wake up and go through everything they had gotten and realized they were very rich.  That brought them to the subject of kings.  Huck talks about how King Solomn had many wives and that the widow said he was the wisest man there was.  Jim fervently disagrees and says anyone who wanted that much fighting that multiple women would bring cannot be wise.  Jim also brings up how Solomn was willing to cut his child in half, that a wise man that only had a few children values his children.  Huck changes the subject and they talk about a few other kings and the french.  Huck says that the french speaks differently because they're not the same as us, he compares a man to a cow and cat saying we don't speak like them because we're different.  Jim replies that a cow and cat aren't human and that men should speak English because they're men. Huck finally gives up because once a black man gets his mind set on something, there's no changing it.

In chapter 15 Huck gets separated from Jim.  Huck turns around and sees that the raft is gone!  In his frantic moment he forgets to untie the canoe as he tries to go after it.  At this point trying to find the canoe is hopeless because there is such a heavy fog that no one can see in front of them.  However, at first Huck tries desperately to find Jim by calling out noises, some points it comes from his left, right, and behind.  This is when Huck gives up and lays down in the canoe, he falls asleep and when he wakes the sky is visible and no longer foggy.  He rushes down the river and finally comes upon the raft with a sleeping Jim on it.  He wakes Jim and Jim is so happy to see him, but Huck says "What are you talking about Jim, I haven't gone anywhere. Where would I go?"  Huck had Jim convinced it was all a dream and Jim had interrupted the dream.  When Huck asked why there were leaves and a broken oar everything seemed to click in Jim's head.  Jim looked at Huck and told him how mean that was and how he was so happy to see Huck alive he had tears in his eyes and all Huck did was make a mean joke.  At that Jim went to the wigwam and stayed there, it took Huck 15 minutes to go apologize to him and he never regretted it.

Chapter 16 begins with Huck and Jim floating down river during the night and Jim begins to get very excited about getting to be a free man.  Around this same time Huck starts to get very guilty because he let someone else's property get away.  He feels sick because he thinks to himself how Miss Watson never did anything wrong by him and yet he's helping her property get away.  Jim is talking about when he gets to a free state he's going to save money to buy his wife and then they'll save money to buy their children.  If their owner won't sell them then they'll find an abolitionist who will steal their children.  At this Huck changes his mind and decides he's going to tell on Jim.  Jim sees a city and Huck decides he will go ashore and tell, but as he's paddling away Jim calls out to Huck and tells him he's the best white man ever and he's the only honest white man that has ever kept him a promise.  At this Huck again starts to feel guilty and is very torn.  Two men on a boat talk to Huck now and ask if the raft is his and if anyone is on it.  Huck tells the men that his father is on it and that he's white, the men reply that they want to take a look.  Huck says that would be such a help and asked if the men would tow the raft ashore because his father was mighty sick.  The men become skeptical and ask what he's sick with, they then assume that it's small pox and tell Huck they can't help him.  Huck gets back on the raft and again feels very guilty because he knows he's done wrong.  Huck then asks himself would he have felt better if he turned in Jim and realized he wouldn't.  That night Huck and Jim set off trying to find Cario again and passed two towns that were not them.  They slept the day through and when they went back for the canoe, it was gone.  They didn't need to talk because they both knew it was work of the bad luck from the snake skin.  That night a large ferry came straight for them, usually they try to get out of the way at the last minute but this ferry didn't move.  It hit their raft in the middle and Huck and Jim dove off either side at the last minute.  When Huck surfaced he called for Jim but got no response.  Huck then went to shore and was walking when he came across a log house, he was going to run away until he heard a lot of dogs barking at him.  Huck knew better than to try and run, so he just stood there.

In chapter 17 a family calls out to Huck and asks who he is.  They then tell him to walk slowly towards the house and poke his head in.  When they realize that he isn't someone who will cause them harm they invite him in.  Huck tells them a story as to how he came there that ended with him falling off of a steamboat and having to come ashore.  The family gets him some dry clothes and food and say he's welcome to make their home his home as long as he wanted.  The next morning Huck couldn't remember what he said his name was and asked the boy to spell it, Huck then writes it down in case anyone asks him to spell it.  He goes on an exploration of the house and describes how big and beautiful the house is.   Huck talks about the girl Emmeline that used to live there who passed away.  She had very sad art work that was very beautiful along with amazing poetry that was also very sad.  She would come after the doctor and before the undertaker and would make up poetry for the person.  Huck finishes the chapter by going back to his description of the home and how lovely it was.

Chapter 18 begins with Huck describing Colonel Grangerford, his wife and the rest of the family that Huck is staying with.  Then he discusses the feud that is going on between the Grangerfords and the Sheperdsons.  It had begun about 30 or so years ago when two men went to court over something (no one remembers what anymore) and the man who lost killed the other man.  It has continued through the years and many from the families have died because of this feud.  There had been two killed this year, an old Sheperdson had killed an adolescent Gangerford and a few weeks later the Gangerfords had killed the old Sheperdson.  Huck heard the story and then decided it was time to take a nap on this Sunday, when he was headed to his room one of the younger Gangerford girls asked if he would go to the church because she forgot her testament there.  Huck went to fetch it and found a piece of paper that said "half past two" on it.  He returned the testament to her and said he couldn't read and she told him it was just a book mark.  Huck then went on a walk to think this through and his slave followed him and told Huck he would show him some water moccasins, Huck found this weird but he followed him anyways.  Huck's slave brought him to a little area near the river and that's where Huck saw Jim.  Jim explained that he tried to follow Huck but he had gotten hurt and couldn't swim as fast as Huck and then he was afraid of the dogs but made sure that Huck got inside the house.  Jim then says he didn't fetch him sooner because he was working on the raft so that they could continue on.  The next morning Huck realized the house was too still, Jim told him that the young girl that left her testament in the church had run off with a Sherperdson and they had gotten married.  The family wasted no time, got their guns and went to find them.  Huck wasn't woken because they didn't want to put him in the middle of it, but Huck went and found where Buck was and Buck told him to keep a watch out for the men.  The men came back and shot both Buck and his cousin and they jumped in the river to try and get away, the men stood at the bank shooting at the boys saying "kill them kill them."  Huck stayed in the tree until that night and vowed not to go back to the house after everything he had witnessed.  As he was going away he pulled out two bodies from the river and covered their faces up, he cried as he covered up Buck's because he was good to him.  Huck raced back to where Jim had been and he wasn't there and the raft was gone.  Huck was scared until he called out and Jim replied.  Jim thought that Huck was again dead but so glad that he wasn't they left.  Huck didn't feel easy until they were a few miles away and in the middle of the Mississippi.  Both Huck and Jim agreed that there's no real home like a raft.

Huck begins chapter 19 by talking about the river and how peaceful it is.  One night these men were on the shore and said that the dogs and horses and men were after them!  They wanted to jump into the boar right away but Huck told them to go down a little farther and then swim to the boat to throw off the dogs.  When the men got into the boat Huck realized that none of these men knew each other or why they were each in trouble.  They each told their stories and then one came out that he was a duke.  His father was the rightful duke but the old duke's brother took the line and wouldn't give it to the infant.  Now this man on the boat has been forced to go on with "lesser status."  He then told all of the men to call him your grace or something along those lines, the old man that was in the group got awfully quiet during dinner and seemed to have a problem with this.  He then said to the duke that he wasn't the only one with troubles and came out to say that he is the late Dauphin, and that he is actually the rightful King of France.  Then the duke seemed to get sour on the King because of the treatment he was getting.  The King said why don't we just get along because they were going to be together for some time.  The duke agreed and everything seemed to be comfortable again.  It didn't take Huck too long to figure out that these poor men weren't really a duke or king but he didn't say anything because he wanted to keep the peace.  Huck didn't tell anyone, he learned one thing from his father that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.

In chapter 20 Huck had to come up with a story as to why they only traveled by night and why they had to hid the raft while they slept.  One night a storm hit and Jim was on watch when the waves became high and washed Huck overboard.  Jim thought this was hilarious and couldn't stop laughing.  When the storm stopped the duke and king discussed putting on a play.  Everyone went to shore at this town.  They went to the town meeting and made $87 by frauding them.  Then they made a few signs, including one that said $200 reward and it described Jim.  Now they could travel by day and if someone stopped them they could say that Jim was a runaway slave and they were taking him back for the reward.  Also with the money they got some alcohol and the king and duke got drunk.  Jim was trying to get the king to speak in french but the king said he had left France when he was too  young to remember any of it.

A theme that I notice throughout these chapters is distrust and lying.  At every stop Huck makes up a new story about who he is, and once the duke and king come they also tell stories about who everyone is.  All of this is done to gain something material for them.  There is also little trust in what others are telling them.  Whenever a story is told people say "well if you're really telling me the truth."  This definitely still happens today.  There is no trust in this world because of how awful people have become.  I think that then there was a lot of distrust because the country was still so young and so much was going on.  Now I think that it's going on because everyone is so self involved that everyone only looks out for themselves and thinks that no one else can be trusted.  When looking at the duke and the king and how they told stories to make themselves look better is also something that goes on today.  Everyone now seems to want to be famous and will make up stories so that the attention stays on them and their fame doesn't decrease.

Looking at the feud between the Grangerfords and Sheperdsons makes me really look at society.  People never forget about a feud, but they often forget about what it's over.  Then being willing to give up your life or anything you have just  for a feud that you don't know anything about is a little ridiculous to me.  There is clearly a strong sense in pride and family that goes along with this and if you're a real man then you are willing to die for this cause.  It surprised me that one of the Sheperdons was able to live for a long time because no one in either family cared about the other and would kill them for nothing.  I think that this is still seen today in gang fights and how there are wars between rival gangs but none of them know why, just because they're associated with the other gang.

I love how close Huck and Jim have become.  Jim cares a great deal for Huck and though Huck doesn't show it as outright as Jim he clearly cares.  Every time that Jim thinks Huck is dead he becomes very emotional and is so thankful that Huck is alive.  It feels as though there is almost a father-son relationship going on or maybe even a brotherly relationship going on.  They have gone through so much and faced a lot of challenges and they have come through them together.

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