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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 15: Fooling Poor Old Jim
Jim and Huck hope to reach Cairo in about three days; there they plan to sell the raft and board a steamboat to travel up the Ohio River. On the second night, a fog begins to form, and they go decide to go ashore. Huck goes ahead in the canoe so that he will be able to tie the raft. However, there were only small saplings in sight, and when he tries to tie the raft, it floats away in the stiff current. Huck follows but is unable to see due to the thick fog. Huck draws Jimís attention by whooping, and Jim responds; although Huck follows the sound Jim makes, he is unable to find raft. After several tries, he gives up and rests on an island, hoping that Jim is on the other side.
Huck takes a nap, and when he wakes, the fog has cleared. He spies a twinkling light in the distance and goes towards it. After a couple of misses, he finds the raft with Jim sleeping on board. Huck quietly gets on to the raft and lies down. After a couple of minutes, he stretches his arms and pretends that he is just getting up after a nap. Jim is very happy to see him, for he has been afraid that Huck has drowned in the river. Huck pretends that he has been on the raft the whole time and accuses Jim of drinking or dreaming.
At first Jim believes Huckís tale. Then Huck laughs at Jim and asks him to explain all the trash on the raft. When Jim realizes that Huck has been teasing him, he says that trash is someone who tricks his friend and makes him feel ashamed. He admonishes Huck, telling him that when he was so distressed and worried about his safety, all Huck could think of was how to fool him. Huck feels terrible for playing this trick on Jim and asks for forgiveness. He decides never again to fool Jim.
In this chapter, Huck, revealing his immaturity, plays another cruel trick on Jim. He still thinks of Jim as a slave, a piece of property; it has not dawned on the naive Huck that Jim has real human feelings. When Jim reveals how worried he has been about Huck and how hurt he is by the trick, Huck feels terrible and asks for forgiveness; this apology to Jim is the first sign of real responsibility in Huck. Although he still does not view Jim as an equal, he is reaching a human status in Huckís mind, and Huck vows never to be cruel to him again.