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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
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CHAPTER 34

Now everything is in place for the two boys to help Jim escape. In this chapter and the ones that follow, you'll see some interesting contrasts between Huck's view of the world and Tom's. You may remember some of these contrasts from the early part of the book, in which Tom spun elaborate tales about adventures, and Huck found it hard to take any of them seriously.

This chapter begins with Tom suggesting that he and Huck each think of a plan, and that they then decide which is better. Huck knows he's outclassed here, and he hardly gives any thought to a plan, convinced that Tom's will be far superior to anything he can think of.

When you read the two plans, you might not agree with Huck. The one he comes up with is practical, straightforward, and based solidly on the experiences he's recently had on the river. Even Tom agrees that it would work, but that isn't the point.

The point, according to Tom, is to have an adventure, to pull off something that has style. When he tells Huck his plan, Huck agrees that "it was worth fifteen of mine for style, and would make Jim just as free a man as mine would, and maybe get us all killed besides."


After agreeing to the plan, Huck again has qualms about involving Tom in this criminal-and sinful-business of helping Jim escape. But when he brings the subject tip, Tom assures him that he knows what he's doing. Huck still doesn't understand, but he sees no way of talking Tom out of it.

The boys examine the place where Jim is being held prisoner, and Huck sees a simple way of getting him out. Tom refuses to do anything simply, and decides on an alternative that will take about a week to accomplish. By the end of the chapter, they have let Jim know that they're on the scene and that they're planning to get him out.

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