Huckleberry Finn is a boy about thirteen or fourteen. He has been brought up by his father, the town drunk, and has a hard time fitting into society. Tom Sawyer and his friends occasionally call him “Huck Finn”. Widow Douglas is the kind old lady who has taken Huck in after he and Tom come into some money. She tries her best to civilize Huck, believing it is her Christian duty. Miss Watson is the widow’s sister, a tough old spinster who also lives with them. She is fairly hard on Huck, causing him to resent her a good deal.
Samuel Clemens may have drawn inspiration for her from several people he knew in his life.  Jim is Miss Watson’s big, mild-mannered slave to whom Huck becomes very close in the novel, when they reunite after Jim flees Miss Watson to seek refuge from slavery, and Huck and Jim become fellow travelers on the Mississippi River. Tom Sawyer is Huck’s friend and peer, the main character of other Twain novels and the leader of the town boys in adventures, is “the best fighter and the smartest kid in town”.  “Pap” Finn, Huck’s father, is the town drunk.
He is often angry at Huck and resents him getting any kind of education. He also returns to Huck whenever he needs more money for alcohol. Judith Loftus plays a small part in the novel — being the kind and perceptive woman whom Huck talks to in order to find out about the search for Jim — but many critics believe her to be the best female character in the novel.  The Grangerfords, an aristocratic Kentuckian family headed by the sextagenarian Colonel Saul Grangerford, take Huck in after he is separated from Jim on the Mississippi.
Huck becomes close friends with the youngest male of the family, Buck Grangerford, who is Huck’s age. By the time Huck meets them, the Grangerfords have been engaged in an age-old blood feud with another local family, the Shepherdsons. The duke and the king are two otherwise unnamed con artists whom Huck and Jim take aboard their raft just before the start of their Arkansas adventures. They are featured prominently throughout the novel, duping many local townspeople with their various get-rich-quick schemes.
The middle-aged “duke” claims to be the long-lost Duke of Bridgewater (though he mistakenly says “Bilgewater” and is sometimes called this by the king), while the elderly “king” claims to be the long-lost Dauphin of France, and so is sometimes called “Capet” by the duke. Mary Jane, Joanna, and Susan Wilks are the three young nieces of their wealthy guardian, Peter Wilks, who has recently died. The duke and the king try to steal the inheritance left by Peter Wilks, by posing as Peter’s estranged brothers from England.
Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas Phelps, are the two people whose nephew Huck poses as, after he abandons the duke and king. She is a loving, but high-strung lady, and he a plodding old man, both farmer and preacher. Many other characters play important but minimal roles in the many episodes that make up the novel. They include slaves owned by the various families they meet, supporting townspeople, rafts-men, a doctor and a steamboat captain. Plot summary Huckleberry Finn, as depicted by E. W. Kemble in the original 1884 edition of the book In Missouri
The story begins in fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri (based on the actual town of Hannibal, Missouri), on the shore of the Mississippi River, sometime between 1835 (when the first steamboat sailed down the Mississippi) and 1845.
Huckleberry “Huck” Finn (the protagonist and first-person narrator) and his friend, Thomas “Tom” Sawyer, have each come into a considerable sum of money as a result of their earlier adventures (detailed in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer). Huck explains how he is placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who, together with her stringent sister, Miss Watson, are attempting to civilize him and teach him religion.
Finding civilized life confining, his spirits are raised somewhat when Tom Sawyer helps him to escape one night past Miss Watson’s slave Jim, to meet up with Tom’s gang of self-proclaimed “robbers. ” Just as the gang’s activities begin to bore Huck, he is suddenly interrupted by the reappearance of his shiftless father, “Pap”, an abusive alcoholic. Knowing that Pap would only spend the money on alcohol, Huck is successful in preventing Pap from acquiring his fortune; however, Pap still gains custody of Huck and leaves town with him.
In Illinois and on Jackson’s Island Pap forcibly moves Huck to his isolated cabin in the woods on the Illinois shoreline. Due to Pap’s drunken violence and habit of keeping Huck locked inside the cabin, Huck, during one of his father’s absences, elaborately fakes his own death, escapes the cabin, and sets off down river. He settles comfortably, on Jackson’s Island on the Mississippi. Here, Huck reunites with Jim, Miss Watson’s slave. Jim has also run away after he overheard Miss Watson planning to sell him “down the river” (to presumably more brutal owners).
Jim plans to make his way to the town of Cairo in Illinois, a free state, so that he can later buy the rest of his enslaved family’s freedom. At first, Huck is conflicted about the sin and crime of supporting a runaway slave, but as the two talk in depth and bond over their mutually held superstitions, Huck emotionally connects with Jim, who increasingly becomes Huck’s close friend and guardian. After heavy flooding on the river, the two find a raft (which they keep) as well as an entire house floating on the river. Entering the house to seek loot, Jim finds the naked body of a dead man lying on the floor, shot in the back.
He prevents Huck from seeing the corpse. To find out the latest news in town, Huck dresses as a girl and enters the house of Judith Loftus, a woman new to the area, thinking she will not recognize him as a boy. Huck learns from her about the news of his own supposed murder; Pap was initially blamed, but since Jim ran away he is also a suspect. A reward for Jim’s capture has initiated a manhunt. Mrs. Loftus becomes increasingly suspicious that Huck is a boy, finally proving it by a series of tests, such as noticing how well he throws and catches various items, and how he is terrible at sewing.
Once he is exposed, she nevertheless allows him to leave her home without commotion, not realizing that he is the allegedly murdered boy they have just been discussing. Huck returns to Jim to tell him the news and that a party is coming to Jackson’s Island that very night, so the two hastily load up the raft and depart. After a while, Huck and Jim come across a grounded steamship. Searching it, they stumble upon two thieves discussing murdering a third, but they flee before being noticed.
They are later separated in a fog, making Jim intensely anxious, and when they reunite, Huck tricks Jim into thinking he dreamed the entire incident. Jim is not deceived for long, and is deeply hurt that his friend should have teased him so mercilessly. Huck becomes remorseful and apologizes to Jim, though his conscience troubles him about humbling himself to a black man.
In Kentucky: the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons Travelling onward, Huck and Jim’s raft is struck by a passing steamship, separating the two. Huck is given shelter on the Kentucky side of the river by the Grangerfords, an aristocratic family.
He befriends Buck Grangerford, a boy about his age, and learns that the Grangerfords are engaged in a 30-year blood feud against another family, the Shepherdsons. The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons go to the same church and act peaceably inside, though both families bring guns, despite the church’s preachings on brotherly love. The vendetta finally comes to a head when Buck’s older sister elopes with a member of the Shepherdson clan. In the resulting conflict, all the Grangerford males from this branch of the family are shot and killed.
Huck is particularly devastated by the brutality of Buck’s murder, which he witnesses, but declines to describe. He is immensely relieved to be reunited with Jim, who has recovered and repaired the raft. In Arkansas: the duke and the king Near the Arkansas-Missouri-Tennessee border, Jim and Huck take two on-the-run grifters aboard the raft. The younger man, who is about thirty, introduces himself as the long-lost son of an English duke (the Duke of Bridgewater). The older one, about seventy, then trumps this outrageous claim by alleging that he himself is the Lost Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and rightful King of France.
The “duke” and “king” then become permanent passengers on Jim and Huck’s raft, committing a series of confidence schemes upon unsuspecting locals all along their journey. To allow for Jim’s presence, they first print fake bills for an escaped slave that will divert suspicions, but later paint him up entirely blue and call him the “Sick Arab” so that he can move about the raft without being tied up when in public view. On one occasion, the swindlers advertise a three-night engagement of a play called “The Royal Nonesuch”.
The play turns out to be only a couple of minutes’ worth of an absurd, bawdy sham. On the afternoon of the first performance, a drunk called Boggs is shot dead by a gentleman named Colonel Sherburn; a lynch mob forms to retaliate against Sherburn; and Sherburn, surrounded at his home, disperses the mob by making a defiant speech describing how true lynching should be done. By the third night of “The Royal Nonesuch”, the townspeople prepare for their revenge on the duke and king for their money-making scam, but the two cleverly skip town together with Huck and Jim just before the performance begins.
In the next town, the two swindlers then impersonate two brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property. To match accounts of Wilks’s brothers, the king attempts an English accent and the duke pretends to be a deaf-mute, while starting to collect Wilks’s inheritance. Huck decides that Wilks’s three orphaned nieces, who treat Huck with kindness, do not deserve to be cheated thus and so he tries to retrieve the nieces’ stolen inheritance. In a desperate moment, Huck is forced to hide the money in Wilks’s coffin, which is buried the next morning.
The arrival of two new men who seem to be the real brothers throws everything into confusion, so that the townspeople decide to dig up the coffin in order to determine which are the true brothers, but, with everyone else distracted, Huck leaves for the raft, hoping never to see the duke and king again. Suddenly, though, the two villains return, to Huck’s despair. When Huck is finally able to get away a second time to return to his raft to flee with Jim, he finds to his horror that the swindlers have sold Jim to a family that intends to return him to his proper owner for the reward.
Defying his conscience and accepting the negative religious consequences he expects for his actions—”All right, then, I’ll go to hell! “—Huck resolves to free Jim once and for all. On the Phelps’ farm Huck learns that Jim is being held at the plantation of Silas and Sally Phelps. The family’s nephew, Tom, is expected for a visit at the same time as Huck’s arrival, so Huck is mistaken for Tom and welcomed into their home. He plays along, hoping to find Jim’s location and free him; in a surprising plot twist, it is revealed that the expected nephew is in fact Tom Sawyer.
When Huck intercepts the real Tom Sawyer on the road and tells him everything, Tom decides to join Huck’s scheme, pretending to be his own younger half-brother, Sid, while Huck continues to pretend to be Tom. In the meantime, Jim has told the family about the two grifters and the new plan for “The Royal Nonesuch”, and so the townspeople capture “the King” and “the Duke”, who are then tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. Rather than simply sneaking Jim out of the shed where he is being held, Tom develops an elaborate plan to free him, involving secret messages, a hidden
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