Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 23

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 23

  • That does the trick. The place is packed the following night.
  • Fortunately, the audience loves it when, during this performance of The Royal Nonesuch, the king comes out naked and prancing about.
  • Unfortunately, the audience doesn't love it when after ten seconds of this tomfoolery, the show is over.
  • They're all ready to lynch the duke and the king for taking their money without a real show to present.
  • Lynching seems to be everyone's weekend sport.
  • Then one brilliant guy reminds them that they don't want to look foolish in front of the rest of the townspeople for wasting their money. A much better plan would be to get everyone else to see the show tomorrow and then lynch the duke and the king.
  • The mob is all, "Good idea!"
  • So the duke and king clean up for a second night in a row.
  • On the third night, the townspeople arrive with a vengeance. And lots of rotten fruit for throwing purposes.
  • Unfortunately, the duke and the king have absconded with the money from all three nights' worth of shows: $465.
  • So, our gang of four is back on the raft and moving along the river once again.
  • In private (which we imagine is a difficult condition to obtain on a small raft with four people), Jim tells Huck that these men are clearly "rapscallions."
  • Huck responds that all kings are rapscallions—like "Henry the VIII," who used to chop off all his wives' heads.
  • Of course, Huck exaggerates and generally mixes up his history, but still, the boy has a point.
  • That night, Jim stays awake during his watch, while Huck sleeps. When Huck wakes up at daybreak, he finds Jim having a mini-breakdown.
  • Turns out, Jim is homesick for his family. He tells Huck a story about his daughter: he once asked her to close the door to their house, but she ignored him.
  • He asked her again, only to find that she still wouldn't obey him.
  • So, obviously, then he hit her across the head, only to find out later that the child was deaf and couldn't hear him in the first place.
  • That's a great thing to think about while you're away from your family, right?

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