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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 9: The House of Death Floats By
While exploring the island together, Huck and Jim discover a cavern in the rocks, near the top of a small hill. Jim suggests that use it as a hideout in case anyone comes looking for them. They gather their belongings and put them inside the cave. They find a flat surface to build a fire to cook their meals. Almost as soon as they are settled, it starts to rain furiously, and Huck is glad that they have made the cave their temporary home.
Due to the rain, the river begins to rise, flooding the small island. Huck and Jim have to paddle in the canoe to go about the island for the next ten days. They venture out only after it gets dark, to avoid being seen. One night, they spy a large raft that they manage to save for themselves. The next night they see a two-story frame house floating by. Jim and Huck paddle towards it and get in.
When they look through the window, they see a table, a couple of chairs, a bed, and in the far corner, a man lying down, probably dead. They call out to him, and when there is no response, Jim goes inside to investigate. Jim confirms that the man has been dead for a couple of days and that he had been shot in the back. He covers the dead manís face with rags. Huck and Jim salvage whatever they can, and by the time they start back it is almost daylight. To avoid being detected, Huck makes Jim lie low in the canoe. They reach the island safely.
In this chapter, the dynamics between Huck and Jim begin to take shape. Jim, an older Negro who has always been a slave, asks permission of Huck, a twelve-year-old white boy, to stay in the cave. Throughout his life, Jim has been taught that white people, regardless of age, are his masters. Later, when Jim sees the dead body in the boat, he tries to protect Huck, telling him not to look upon the ghastly face of the dead man. Jim keeps the identity of the man a secret. Only in the last chapter does Twain reveal that the dead man was Pap. Clearly Jim is a good, kind, and intelligent person, who sees his role as humbly serving Huck.