The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 41 Summary

Instructor: Wendy A. Garland

Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.

This lesson begins with a brief recap of Chapter 40 of ''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' then goes on to summarize Chapter 41. In that chapter, Huck sends a doctor back for Tom, but is then left behind and has to go back home.

Recap

In Chapter 40 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Phelps household was anxiously and nervously awaiting the arrival of the non-existent violent gang. Huck, while getting some butter, came across fifteen armed farmers in the Phelps's sitting room, ready to go after the gang. During their escape to the raft, Tom was shot in the calf by the farmers who, in the dark, thought they were chasing the gang. After much discussion, Jim stayed with the wounded Tom as Huck went to get a doctor.

Huck Finds a Doctor

As Chapter 41 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn begins, Huck has gone back to the village and found a kind doctor. Huck makes up a story about his 'brother' accidentally shooting himself in his sleep to convince the doctor to accompany him to the raft. The doctor agrees to go and help Tom. However, when Huck takes him to the canoe, the doctor realizes that it only fits one, and will probably be unsafe for two people. Huck insists the canoe is safe for two or even three, almost letting the secret about their escape slip.

But the doctor refuses and tells Huck to either find another canoe or wait for him to return. Having no other choice, and thinking of Tom, Huck lets the doctor go and finds a corner to sleep. He wakes up to find the day has already began, and rushes off to go back to Tom, Jim, and the doctor. But he runs into uncle Silas, who still thinks Huck is Tom.

Huck Goes Back Home

Uncle Silas asks about Tom's whereabouts, calling him 'Sid,' because that was how Tom introduced himself when he first came to the Phelps's farm. Tom did so in collusion with Huck, who had learned about Jim's presence on the farm, and saw this mix-up as the perfect opportunity to secretly devise a plan to work with Tom and free Jim.

Huck tells uncle Silas that Sid is fine and is at the post office gathering news about Jim's escape. When they don't find Sid there, Huck offers to wait for him. But uncle Silas tells him that aunt Sally has been worried sick about them, and he must go back home with him immediately. Huck has no choice but to accompany him home.

Farmers and Their Wives Gossip

Huck walks into the Phelps's house and finds aunt Sally is hosting the farmers and their wives. They are feeding them to thank them for their efforts during the previous night. The farmers and their wives eat and talk about the surprises found in Jim's shed, including the writings on the walls, the millstone, and the escape hole.

The farmers' wives and others gossip about how Jim must be crazy because no sane person would leave the nonsensical words and drawings found in the shed. The gossiping quickly escalates, and before long, the women are saying there must have been forty slaves helping Jim make his tools and dig the escape hole. But this idea is soon replaced by one in which skillful thieves tricked the original violent gang and the Phelps family, and stole Jim from under their noses.

Huck Feels Guilty

After a short while, aunt Sally joins the discussion and admits that she had locked the boys in their rooms the previous night, fearing for their safety. She then wonders how Sid and Tom (Tom and Huck) managed to leave their locked room. Huck admits that they went out the window and slid down the lightening rod, but says it hurt them to do so, and they would never do it again.

Aunt Sally is not too bothered by Huck's confession, and says she is still worried about Sid. Huck sees his chance to leave and offers to go find him and bring him back. But aunt Sally is unwilling to let Huck out of her sight, saying she is sad enough to have lost Sid, and does not want to lose him as well. She says if Sid is not back for dinner, uncle Silas will go looking for him.

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