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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 24: The King Turns Parson
When all four of them are back on the raft, the Duke disguises Jim as a sick Arab so he can stay on the raft by himself and not be judged a runaway slave. The Duke and Dauphin dress up in the new clothes they have bought and think about boarding a steamboat. The Dauphin tells Huck to row him out to the steamboat. On their way, they meet a young man, and the Dauphin introduces himself as the Reverend Alexander Boldgette. The man tells him that he had hoped he was Mr. Wilks, whose brother Peter has just died. Peterís brothers are in England and word had been sent a couple of months ago when Peter first took ill. One of the brothers, Harvey, is a preacher, and the second, William, is deaf and dumb; they have inherited a fortune from Peter. The Dauphin asks all kinds of questions about the Wilks family and the town, and the young man supplies all the information.
The Dauphin immediately decides to try and gain the Wilks fortune. He will pose as the preacher and the Duke will pose as the deaf and dumb brother. He sends Huck to retrieve the Duke. Huck realizes what these two frauds are up to, but can do nothing about it.
When they reach the steamboat landing, the Dauphin asks if anyone can tell him where Peter Wilks lives. When they tell him that he is dead, he pretends to be heart-broken and makes wild signs with his hands to the Duke.
Early in the chapter, Huck proves that he is still prejudiced against Negroes, believing them to be sub-humans. When the Duke and Dauphin tie up Jim for the day, Huck, out of fear, does nothing to stop them. Then during the day, he does nothing to relieve Jimís suffering, almost as if he believes it is acceptable for a black man to be treated in such a manner. At the end of the chapter, he reinforces his prejudice when he uses the expression, ďIím a nigger,Ē in a derogatory fashion.
Forever on the lookout for new ways of conning people, the Dauphin finds out that Peter Wilks has died the previous day and his three nieces are expecting their uncles to come back and settle the estate. At first Huck does not understand why the Dauphin is so interested in Peter Wilks and his family. When he realizes that the scoundrel is going to try and seize the dead manís fortune, Huck is disgusted, but does not feel he can do anything to alert the people against them. At the end of the chapter, Huck says that the scoundrels make him ďashamed of the whole human race.Ē It is the first time in the book that he has made such a strong moral judgment and shows that he is maturing; but he is still not mature enough to take action.