The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 37 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tom and Huck get what they need to bake the witch-pie. Afterwards, the boys go down to breakfast, hiding a spoon for Jim to write with in Uncle Silas’s pocket and nails in his hat, only to find Aunt Sally livid that things in the house are going missing. Uncle Silas suggests ways things could go missing, like rats getting them, but Aunt Sally dismisses them all. She is irritated and suspicious. Uncle Silas goes on to sheepishly produce the spoon hidden in his pocket by Huck and Tom. Aunt Sally hotly dismisses everyone from the kitchen so she can calm down.
Tom’s plan is time-consuming to execute, but it’s also problematic in raising so many suspicions. Aunt Sally is at wit’s end and, far from accepting Uncle Silas’s charmingly naïve explanations as to how things went missing, she seems to suspect that the children in the household are involved. But, even though Aunt Sally is on high alert for funny business, Tom does not change his plan.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Uncle Silas finds the nail in his hat but doesn’t mention it. Tom recognizes that Uncle Silas has helped him and Huck conceal their plan to help Jim by producing the spoon at breakfast, and so he resolves to help Uncle Silas by plugging holes in the cellar through which rats enter and exit the house. Later, Uncle Silas comes downstairs and sees that all of the holes have been plugged. He can’t remember having done that chore for the life of him.
Tom goes out of his way to compensate Uncle Silas for helping him and Huck cover up their plans, even though he did so unintentionally. While this is not really mature of Tom, it reflects that his heart, at least, is in the right place. He may live in a fantasy-world, but he does have a sense of what it means to be good.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Huck and Tom steal another spoon, but pretend that Aunt Sally miscounted how many there were to cover their tracks. Tom tells Aunt Sally that, even with the spoon Uncle Silas found, the spoon set is incomplete. Aunt Sally recounts, but Huck and Tom keep tricking her into thinking she has miscounted. Aunt Sally becomes mad and storms off. Huck and Tom hide the spoon they stole in her apron along with a nail, both of which she inadvertently delivers to Jim in his hut.
Huck and Tom’s pranks seem harmless enough, and also serve to prevent the Phelpses from discovering the boys’ plan to help Jim, but it must be remembered that, while Huck and Jim play their ridiculous games, Jim is enchained in a hut, separated from his family.
Themes
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
After a lot of trouble and experimentation, Tom and Huck bake the witch-pie, which is basically a crust under which is hidden a ladder. Nat delivers the pie to Jim, which Jim busts open so that he can take the ladder out and hide it in his mattress. He also scratches some marks on a tin and throws it out of his window, in accordance with Tom’s plan.
We might wonder why Jim goes along with Tom’s ridiculous plan at all. It could be that he trusts Tom, thinking him bright and genuinely interested in helping out. But Jim doesn’t respect his own judgment, maybe because he has been trained by whites to respect theirs over his own.
Themes
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
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