The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 31 Summary

Instructor: Trisha Fyfe

Trisha has taught college and K-12 English, reading, writing, and math. She has a master's degree in teaching.

Travels continue down the Mississippi River as the Duke and the Dauphin seek out places to make some quick money by scamming towns along the way. This lesson will explore these events and more in chapter 31 of ''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn''.


Huck and Jim almost got away from the two conmen, the Duke and the Dauphin. But unfortunately, these troublesome men caught up with the raft. As the Dauphin tried to get answers from Huck, the conmen began arguing. The blame shifted from Huck to the Dauphin, who was scolded by the Duke for getting them into so much trouble. The Duke and the Dauphin fought and then made up, drinking themselves to sleep. All seemed to be forgiven for the time being.

Further Down the River

It was several days before Huck, Jim, the Duke and the Dauphin stopped the raft to head ashore. Huck noticed signs that they were very far from home, especially the Spanish moss that made everything look so solemn. The reason for the stop was money. The Duke and the Dauphin were out, and they were ready to brave the crowds again as they began to plan their next scams. They were far enough down river that the townspeople had not yet caught wind of their cons. Or so they hoped.

So, the conmen started their shenanigans again. First they took to fake lectures and dance lessons. When these fell through, they tried their hand at pretending to be doctors and fortunetellers. These scams did not go over well either, and the Duke and the Dauphin began to plan secretly on the raft. Huck and Jim became anxious; they wanted nothing to do with the Duke and the Dauphin's increasingly more illegal and dangerous cons. It was time to get away from these men for good.

A New Town: Pikesville

Pikesville was the next destination the Dauphin chose to stop and scout out. He was pretty sure that the townspeople were far enough away from those angered by The Royal Nonesuch, but he had to be sure. The Dauphin headed into town while the other three waited. The Duke was in a mighty foul mood as they waited. Huck couldn't help but wonder if this might be their chance for escape.

The Dauphin did not return by mid-day, and Huck and the Duke decided to see what was going on. They found the Dauphin surrounded by townspeople in a bar. It was obvious that things were not going well for the Dauphin, and soon after arriving, the Duke got into it with the Dauphin as well. As the two argued, Huck ran back to the raft. When he arrived, Jim was nowhere to be seen.

The Truth Comes Out

Huck set out to look for Jim. He ran into a boy who was willing to spill the beans on Jim's whereabouts. A man, a stranger in town, had sold Jim for just forty dollars. Huck knew just who this stranger was: the Dauphin. How could he do that after all that Huck and Jim had done for them as they floated downriver? He sold Jim for a measly forty dollars.

Unsure of what to do next, Huck tried to process all that had happened. He replayed his past decisions and actions. He wondered if maybe he should do the honest thing and write to Tom Sawyer. Then Tom could inform Miss Watson, Jim's owner, of Jim's whereabouts. But then what? Miss Watson might be angry with Jim for running away in the first place, and that would lead to more trouble for Jim. She might even send him downriver regardless. Huck thought about the fact that he would be a disgrace as well. A boy that helped a slave run away would pay the consequences for sure.

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