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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 22: Why the Lynching Bee Failed
The crowd moved towards Sherburn’s house. Sherburn comes out and stands on the patio without uttering a simple word. The crowd quiets down. Sherburn, in a voice filled with scorn, calls the mob cowards and pitiful people who do not fight with courage. The crowd breaks up under this attack and goes its separate ways.
After this episode, Huck sneaks into the circus and has a wonderful time, soaking up the color and action of it all. He is fooled by a drunk, who happens to be a skillful bareback rider. Later that night, the Duke and the Dauphin have their show, and only twelve people attend. They change their plans and distribute handbills that say that children and ladies are not permitted to attend future performances. The two frauds feels certain that this will draw a crowd of men.
In this chapter, Twain shows his contempt towards the mob and its behavior. People in a crowd are swayed by others’ opinions, and they do not stop to think before they act. The high tension in the chapter is relieved with Huck having a rollicking time at the circus where he is fooled by a local drunk insisting on riding the horses and the ringmaster trying his best to keep him away. He realizes a little later that the drunk was actually a skillful rider.