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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 34 Summary

Instructor: Molly Richards

Molly has ten years of middle school teaching experience and two master's degrees in teaching.

In Chapter 34 of ''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' Huck is beside himself when Tom agrees to help free the runaway slave Jim. Always up for an adventure, the two hatch an unnecessarily complicated plan to free Jim.

Background

After seeing Tom on the road, Huck told him of his plan to help Jim escape. Much to his surprise, Tom agreed to help Huck. Huck went back to Aunt Sally's house (where he was pretending to be Tom) and Tom soon joined them. At first, Tom pretended to be visiting his uncle nearby, but then he kissed Aunt Sally and caused a commotion. To remedy things, he pretended he was playing a joke on them all along, and he was really Tom's half brother, Sid. Everyone welcomed him, and Tom and Huck sighed a breath of relief and got to work helping Jim escape.

The Escape Plan

With no sign of Jim around, Huck and Tom aren't sure where exactly he is. They finally determine that he is being kept in a cabin on the Phelps family's plantation. Huck shares his rescue plan with Tom, who of course shoots it down, as Huck was expecting him to do. Tom shares his own plan with Huck and, just as Huck suspects, it is a great plan! So they decide to go with it, though Huck knows it will likely change along the way, in perfect Tom fashion.

What amazes Huck the most, though, isn't the plan, but the fact that Tom is helping Jim escape. Tom comes from a good home, and was raised to have manners and show respect, and here he is willing to risk his life for Huck and Jim. Huck starts to tell Tom to save himself and get out while it's still early, but Tom will not here of it.

Dig

When it is finally dark, the boys go down to the hut to examine their options. They find a boarded up window which seems the perfect fit for a person. Huck tells Tom that Jim could fit through the window and be out quickly. But adventuresome Tom thinks it is too easy; he wants more of a challenge. They go around the back and find a shed built against the cabin. Excited, Tom looks at Huck and says, ''Now we're all right. We'll dig him out. It'll take about a week!''. Huck's simple plan of having Jim climb through the window or Tom's idea of digging him out? One will certainly allow for more excitement.

Superstitions

The next morning, the boys go down to mingle with the slaves and see if anyone will give up any information on Jim. They find the slave who has been supposedly feeding Jim and make small talk with him. This slave is very superstitious and tells Tom and Huck that witches have been bothering him lately. He gets so caught up in his story that he forgets what he is supposed to be doing. Tom sees this as an opportunity and asks him if he is getting food together to feed the dogs. The slave smiles a curious smile and says yes he is. Would they like to come along and see him? Of course they would...and so their plans change.

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