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MonkeyNotes Study Guide-Huckleberry Finn-Huck Finn-Free Booknotes Synopsis
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 20: What Royalty Did to Pikeville

Summary

The Duke and Dauphin question Huck as to why he is on a raft floating down the river; they also wonder if Jim is a runaway slave. Huck does not give them any answers but asks why a runaway slave would head south into slave territory. He makes up another story about the death of most of his family after which his father, brother, and Jim start on their journey south. However, both his father and brother drowned in the river after being struck by a steamboat. Since then, people have been trying to take away Jim from him because they think that he is a runaway. Therefore, they avoid being seen on the river during the day and travel only after dark.


The Duke and Dauphin continue to act as masters of the raft. Huck and Jim lose their beds to these two frauds and end up spending the nights alternately keeping watch as they float down the river. The Duke and the Dauphin spend their time thinking of a new scheme to fool the people on their next stop. When they reach the next village, all four go ashore. The Dauphin poses as a reformed pirate, who is trying to help change other pirates; he takes up an offering for his cause. When he goes back to the raft, he learns that he is richer by eighty-seven dollars and seventy-five cents. The Duke sells fake advertisements and prints a picture of a run-away slave that fits Jimís description, offering a reward of two hundred dollars. The Duke tells Huck that they can now travel during the day because if they encounter anybody, they can tie Jim up and tell them that they are taking him back to his owner to collect their reward.

Notes

In this chapter Huck again weaves a story about his identity. It is interesting to note that in each of Huckís stories, he has a large family consisting of both parents and a number of brothers and sisters. In this story, however, all of his family is killed, and he is left with only Jim. He has carefully constructed the story to protect his friend, again revealing his shrewdness.

The two frauds weave stories of their own. The Dauphin pretends to be a reformed pirate and collects an offering, and the Duke sells fake advertisements. Through his humor, Twain is obviously criticizing the gullibility of society who falls preys to such frauds and even the naive Huckís sees the people as gullible.

The Duke also thinks of a plan to continue their journey during the day by printing posters that describe Jim as a runaway slave. If they are approached, they can tie Jim up and say they are returning him to his owner.

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