The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 15 Summary

Instructor: Abigail Walker

Abigail has taught writing and literature at various universities. She has an M.A. In literature from American University and an M.F.A. in English from The University of Iowa.

Chapter 15 of ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' finds Huck and Jim on their journey north. Along the way, Huck decides he will trick Jim--a deception that Huck later regrets.

The Journey to Cairo

Huck and Jim calculate that it will take them a few days to reach Cairo, Illinois. They believe they can find someone in Cairo to buy their raft, after which they plan to board a boat to take them up north--where slavery is outlawed and Jim will be a free man.

On the second day of their trip to Cairo, they hope to find a small island where they can moor for the night. Leaving Jim on the raft, Huck takes the canoe out by himself to search for a place where they can rest. Suddenly, as Huck searches in dense fog for a tree sturdy enough to hold a rope, the current strengthens, and he watches in horror as the raft carrying Jim rushes down the river.

Huck takes off after the raft. But he realizes that he has to stop paddling. In the fog, it is impossible to see where he is going so he must remain motionless and just let the canoe move on its own through the rushing water. Huck whoops, and hears a 'small whoop' in response. For a while, the whooping continues, but once it stops, Huck feels tired and falls asleep.

When he wakes up, the river is calmer, the stars are out, and the fog has disappeared. After searching for a few minutes, he now finds the raft littered with debris from the river--and Jim sound asleep. Huck decides he is going to trick Jim. Huck lies down beside him, and begins to make noises as if in his sleep. Jim wakes up, expressing his relief that Huck has not been killed by the raging current.

Huck's Deception

'What's the matter with you, Jim? You been a-drinking?' Huck asks. When Jim tells Huck that he has not, Huck wants to know why Jim is talking 'so wild.' Jim says he does not know what Huck is referring to, and Huck tells him he has no idea why Jim thinks Huck has 'been gone away.' Jim then explains how Huck went out in the canoe in the fog and they became separated. Huck, though, will not admit this. Enjoying his trick, Huck continues to deceive Jim, saying:

'I hain't seen no fog, nor no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing. I been setting here talking with you all night till you went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckon I done the same. You couldn't a got drunk in that time, so of course you've been dreaming.'

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