Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 8

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 8

  • When Huck wakes up the next morning, everyone is out on the river searching for his body.
  • They have all these sophisticated technological methods of carcass-location, such as firing a canon and floating bread across the water.
  • The upside is that Huck gets to eat some bread, even if it's a little soggy.
  • He sees the body-searching boat with everyone on it: Pap, Judge Thatcher and his family, Tom Sawyer and his Aunt Polly, etc. They're all talking about his murder.
  • Huck passes the next three days on Jackson Island, but admits that he's feeling pretty lonesome.
  • As time goes by, Huck senses he's not alone on the island, and by "sense" we mean he finds someone else there. Namely Jim, Miss Watson's slave and the man with the magic hairball.
  • Jim immediately assumes that Huck is a ghost and begs that he not hurt him.
  • Huck convinces him that he's not actually dead, which is harder than it sounds.
  • The pair catches a fish and cooks it for dinner, and then Huck wants to know why Jim is on the island. Before he'll say, Jim makes him promise not to tell.
  • He's run off.
  • Huck is shocked, but knows he has to keep his word to Jim not to tell.
  • See, Jim overheard Miss Watson planning to sell him to New Orleans, which would have separated him from his family. So he ran away, on the same night that Huck did so himself.
  • Hm, are we seeing some parallels in their situation?
  • Also, Jim is the most superstitious guy ever. Birds fly by, so he knows it's going to rain. Catching said birds would mean death. Counting said birds would mean bad luck. Etc.
  • Huck asks why there are so many bad luck signs and so few good luck signs.
  • Well, there's no reason to know about good luck ahead of time—what do you want to do, avoid it?
  • Here's one good luck sign: because Jim has a hairy chest, he's going to be rich someday.
  • He tells a story of $10 he once had but, through a series of bad "investments," lost.
  • However, he makes the point that, if Miss Watson was going to sell him for $800, he's actually pretty rich already, what with owning himself and all.

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