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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
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CHAPTERS 42 AND 43

Before Huck can get back to the raft, Tom and Jim are brought home by the doctor and a crowd. Jim's hands are tied, and Tom is carried on a mattress. In explaining how he managed to recapture the runaway slave, the doctor asks that Jim be treated well, since he showed more interest in Tom's health than he did in his own escape.

The farmers take the doctor's advice, and Huck tells us, "every one of them promised, right out and hearty, that they wouldn't cuss him no more." He notes that they weren't moved enough to remove Jim's chains or give him some decent food, but he figures he should leave well enough alone.

What follows is a wrapup of the plot, moving at breakneck speed and leaving no loose ends. Tom tells Aunt Sally how he and Huck engineered the escape. Tom's Aunt Polly arrives to tell Aunt Sally who her two guests really are. Tom announces that Jim has been a free man for two months. And Jim reveals that Huck's father is dead. This last bit of news means that Huck's $6000 is still waiting for him at home.


"Home," that is, as far as everyone is concerned, except Huck. As much as they seem to care for him, Huck isn't at all sure he belongs with these people-or any other people, for that matter. He's had some good glimpses of civilization on his journey up and down the river, and most of what he's seen hasn't been very pretty.

So the last thing he tells us is that he intends to "light out for the territory," that part of the country that hasn't yet been blessed with statehood, or with civilization.

Huck has had it with civilization. "I been there before," he says, and it doesn't have much to offer him.

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