From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 12 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 12
  • Huck and Jim raft away down the river, with Missouri on one side and Illinois on the other.
  • They travel at night, tying the raft to the shore and covering it up during the day.
  • Some nights, Huck lands at a nearby town to buy food or occasionally steal a chicken. His father, he says, told him that you might as well steal a chicken whenever you can, because if you don't want it yourself, you can give it away.
  • More good moral lessons from Pap: stealing is really "borrowing," as long as you "intended" on giving it "back" sometime.
  • The widow, on the other hand, correctly identifies this as "stealing."
  • Jim offers a compromise: they should pick three things they won't steal anymore, and everything else will be fine.
  • Great! Now that's settled.
  • A little later, the pair comes across a wrecked steamship in the middle of a thunderstorm.
  • Huck wants to land and plunder, but Jim has a bad feeling. What if there are watchmen on board?
  • Huck insists. Tom Sawyer wouldn't be scared of a steamboat, he says, so why should they be?
  • Okay, that's evidently a convincing argument. The two both amble on board, only to overhear three robbers, two of them preparing to kill the third man.
  • Eek.
  • Jim skitters off to the raft, but Huck inches closer to the voices to see what's going on.
  • We get some more info: Jake Packard is the man with the gun; he's trying to convince his buddy Bill to kill the third man, Jim Turner. It seems Jake is afraid Jim will "turn state's evidence," i.e., rat them out.
  • Jake has a better idea: instead of shooting Bill, they should plunder the rest of the steamboat and then wait for him to drown when the boat goes under.
  • You know, because this way, they'll have clean consciences.
  • Huck hustles out to Jim and tells him they should hurry and get the sheriff.
  • Great! Unfortunately, the raft has broken loose in the storm and gone off down the river.
  • Uh-oh.
READ THE BOOK: Chapter 12

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...