The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 7 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.

In Chapter 7 of Mark Twain's ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' Huck devises a method to free himself from Pap. Ironically, Pap's own words shape Huck's plan to rid himself once and for all of his alcoholic father.

A Canoe

'Git up!' Pap is yelling at Huck. Just waking up, Huck is trying to orient himself. Already it is light outside and his father is looming above him, looking angry and ill. He wants to know why his son has a gun, and Huck tells him that someone had tried to break in while Pap was passed out.

Now Pap shifts his attention to breakfast, demanding that Huck go out to check the fishing lines to see if there is anything for their meal. Going outside, Huck sees that the river has risen and that there are drifting logs that he knows he can sell at the lumberyard. At the water's edge, contemplating the money he might make from the logs, he notices a canoe not far from shore.

Not seeing a paddler, Huck thinks someone must be stretched out on the bottom of the canoe. He dives in with his clothes still on, swims over to the canoe, and is surprised to find no one inside. Grabbing a paddle, Huck maneuvers the canoe to shore, thinking that Pap will be happy because the boat will bring in some cash. Immediately, though, Huck has another idea: he will take the boat far downstream and find a place where he can settle.

Huck decides to hide the canoe so Pap won't see it. When Huck runs into Pap on the trail near the river, Pap is furious at his son for taking so long. Huck lies to his father, claiming he took a spill, ending up in the water accidently. Then he helps his father take fish from the lines.

An Escape Plan

After preparing the fish and eating, Pap decides to take a nap, but first he orders Huck, 'Another time a man comes a-prowling round here you roust me out, you hear?' Pap's words help Huck make a plan and he thinks, 'I can fix it now so nobody won't think of following me.'

When his father wakes up, Huck helps Pap tie together the floating logs so that Pap can take them into town to sell them. Before leaving, Pap locks his son in the cabin. But as soon as Pap is gone, Huck starts sawing his way out. Once he finishes making a hole in one of the logs to climb through, he begins taking out all valuable items and whatever provisions he will need to load them onto the canoe. After Huck mends the hole in the cabin, he shoots a pig and then beats in the cabin door with a hatchet. Finally, he smears blood on the hatchet, before sticking it in the wall and dragging a heavy bag to the river--to leave a trail that appears to have been made by a corpse.

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