The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 33 Summary

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

Aunt Sally has mistaken Huck Finn for Tom Sawyer. But now the real Tom Sawyer will be showing up, and Huck needs to fill him in on everything that has happened.

Haunting Tom

Can you imagine believing someone is dead, and then seeing them again? You might think you were seeing a ghost, which is exactly what Tom Sawyer thinks when he sees Huck again at the beginning of Chapter 33 of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It takes Huck some time to convince Tom he is not a ghost there to haunt him. Huck invites Tom to ''come in here and feel of me,'', which Tom does. The touch helps Tom accept that Huck is in fact alive.

Satisfied, Tom wants to hear all about Huck's adventures, but Huck tells him to wait a little while. He explains the difficulty they are in now. Tom thinks over Huck's problem for a few minutes and then tells Huck he has a plan. Huck should take Tom's luggage and head slowly back to the house so that the Phelps family will not question that Huck's been all the way to town and back. Tom will follow after a little while. Before they can commence with the plan, Huck has one more thing to tell Tom. Huck let's him know that Miss Watson's slave Jim is also in town, and Huck is trying to ''steal'' Jim out of slavery.

Hearing this, Tom becomes excited and declares he will help Huck steal Jim. Huck is shocked - Tom Sawyer helping him to steal a slave? But Tom insists and so Huck reminds him he cannot let anyone think he knows anything about Jim.

Here's Sid

Huck is so relieved on his drive home, he forgets to go slowly and arrives back at the house way too quickly. But uncle Phelps, who Huck believes is the ''innocentest best old soul,'' merely expresses admiration for the horse's speed.

After about half an hour, aunt Sally sees Tom's wagon arriving through the window. Since she is not expecting anyone, she assumes it must be a stranger and asks the children to set another place at the table. Tom always loves having an audience, and so he plays up his role as the mysterious stranger, greeting uncle Phelps with, ''Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?''

Uncle Phelps has to tell Tom that he is mistaken - the Nichols family lives down the road about three miles. Since the wagon has already left, they invite Tom to eat dinner with them. At first, Tom declares he would hate to put them out, but is finally convinced to sit down and share a meal. He introduces himself as William Thompson, from Hicksville, Ohio.

Tom pretends to be William Thompson for a while, going ''on, and on, and on, making up stuff about Hicksville and everybody in it he could invent.'' Partway through his storytelling, he leans over and kisses aunt Sally on the mouth, then continues his story without a pause.

Everybody else at the table is shocked. Tom pretends surprise at their shock - didn't everybody tell him she would like for him to kiss her? Now everyone at the table is thoroughly confused, until he looks over at Huck and says, ''Tom, didn't you think aunt Sally'd open out her arms and say, 'Sid Sawyer' ---.'' At the mention of Tom's younger brother's name, aunt Sally jumps to hug and kiss him.

We Were Only Expecting Tom

Aunt Sally explains they were only expecting Tom - her sister never told her Sid would be joining him. Quick on his feet, Tom, pretending to be Sid, explains that originally only Tom was supposed to be coming. But, 'Sid' begged so much that they finally allowed him to come too. He tells them it was Tom's idea for them to surprise them. Aunt Sally is still reeling from the shock, but is excited to have them both there.

Although there is a lot of conversation during the day, the boys are disappointed that nobody says anything about Jim. At dinner that evening, though, one of the children asks his father whether he, Tom, and Sid can go to the show. Uncle Phelps says there probably will not be a show, since the runaway slave warned them all about the ''scandalous show.'' He guesses that the con men behind it have probably been run out of town by now.

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