Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 6

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 6

  • Until now, Huck wasn't the biggest fan of going to school. But now that his father told him not to, he's a regular teacher's pet.
  • Meanwhile, Pap has started a court case to try to get Huck's $6,000. The trial drags on, and all the time Huck has to keep getting money for his father to avoid beatings.
  • Not that anything really stops him.
  • His father finally kidnaps him and takes him to live on the river in a lovely little shack with all the modern luxury of a swinging door and floorboards.
  • During his stay, Huck gets regular beatings. He can't run off, because every time Pap leaves he locks Huck inside.
  • But Huck is adaptable, and he gets used to life in the shack by the river.
  • It's not that bad, he says, since he gets to live in the wild as he likes and there's no one around to scold him about manners and spitting and so forth.
  • So everything's great.
  • Except for the beatings and that one time he was locked up for three days straight.
  • Finally, during one awesome instance of solitary confinement, Huck finds an old wood-saw and goes to work at a slab of wood on the back wall of the cabin.
  • He hides the saw when Pap comes home acting even less pleasant than usual because Judge Thatcher is dragging out the trial as long as possible.
  • He's also worried that the Widow will try to get custody again and win this time, now that he's made an utter idiot of himself about town.
  • Yeah, that sounds like a reasonable thing to be worried about it.
  • Huck may not like being locked up, but he also doesn't want to go back to civilization. He decides to run away just as soon as he can.
  • That night, Pap gets roaring drunk and comes back home absolutely covered in mud from lying in the gutter.
  • He starts cussing out everything, from the government (who won't let him have his rights) to Judge Thatcher (who won't let him have Huck's $6,000) to black men who are educated (who he thinks shouldn't be allowed to know more than he does).
  • In fact, having learned that some states let black men vote, he decides he'll never vote again.
  • Real mature, Pap.
  • Pap continues to drink, fall down, hurt himself, and act the poster child for racism and bigotry.
  • Huck falls asleep and wakes up to see Pap in a delirious fit, screaming about snakes and the devil.
  • After some more sleeping, crying, and screaming, Pap jumps up and starts chasing Huck around the cabin, calling him the "Angel of Death."
  • When he finally passes out again, Huck picks up the rifle and sits down with it pointed at Pap. You know, just in case he wakes up and tries to murder his son again.

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