The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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One of Miss Watson’s slaves, Jim runs away because he is afraid of being separated from his beloved wife and daughter. Jim is superstitious, but nonetheless intelligent; he is also freedom-loving, and nobly selfless. He becomes a kind of moral guide to Huck over the course of their travels together, and, indeed, something of a spiritual father. Despite being the most morally upstanding character in the novel, Jim is ruthlessly persecuted and hunted and dehumanized. He bears his oppression with fiercely graceful resistance.

Jim Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn quotes below are all either spoken by Jim or refer to Jim. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published in 1994.
Chapter 8 Quotes

“People will call me a low down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t agoing to tell, and I ain’t agoing back there anyways.”

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

Huck and Jim stumble into one another on Jackson's Island after Huck escapes from Pap and after Jim escapes from his owner Miss Watson. However, Jim is at first reticent about his escape, because he's afraid that Huck will turn him in. Huck responds with this quote.

In the pre-Civil War America of Huck and Jim's time, Abolitionism was a movement that agitated for the immediate end of slavery in the country. The movement was largely based in the North, and most white Southerners like those featured in Twain's novel denounced Abolitionism as fostering disorder and slave rebellions. Huck, however, doesn't care if he's associated with Abolitionism and despised for it; he does what he thinks is right, even if it flies in the face of social interests. When he says, "I ain't agoing back there anyways," he is at once being literal and metaphorical – he is not going to return to "civilization," nor is he going to return to the frame of mind it sponsors. 

Note, however, that Huck wrestles with racism throughout the novel, not just in his society but in himself. He knows and loves Jim for who Jim is, and therefore don't turn him in; but it will take more spiritual education before he more firmly resists and more squarely turns his back on racist patterns of thinking.

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“Yes—en I’s rich now come to look at it. I owns myself, en I’s wuth eight hund’d dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn’ want no mo’.”

Related Characters: Jim (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

During their rendezvous on Jackson's Island, Jim tells Huck about many superstitions, including one which holds that people with hairy arms and a hairy chest are destined for riches. Jim, who fits this description, says he feels rich even now, however, because he has escaped from slavery and owns himself now. 

Jim says he is worth eight hundred dollars because that is how much Miss Watson was planning to sell him for before his escape. At the time, this was a great deal of money, enough for Jim to live on for the rest of his life. Jim's speech is funny in the sense that he of course can never get that money for himself. At the same time, the humor of the speech allows it to suggest, without feeling like a sermon, how totally morally reprehensible it is to set a cash value on a human body, as though it were just another product to be bought and sold, given how infinitely valuable our lives are to us. In other words: it is a devastating critique of slavery.

Notice that Jim, like Huck, speaks in a carefully constructed dialect. This contributes to the novel's realism, and it is arguably a democratic gesture on Twain's part. He represents as accurately and as richly as he can the many voices of the America that he lived in, rather than writing exclusively in the literary language of the white educated class.

Chapter 14 Quotes

Well, he [Jim] was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head, for a nigger.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

The morning after their encounter with the robbers during the storm, Huck refers to it all as an "adventure." Jim says he doesn't want any more adventures, because he could easily have been harmed. Huck thinks this is pretty level-headed of Jim.

Huck is divided between two influences, that of Tom Sawyer and that of Jim. Tom is fantastical, self-serving, reckless – the kind of person who would take any adventures that come his way. Jim, in contrast, is realistic, sensitive to other people's wants and needs, and therefore careful. In this quote, we see Huck acknowledge the rightness of Jim's perspective, the level-headedness of it. This is a sign that Huck is growing up.

This growing up on Huck's part coincides with a change in Huck's perception of Jim. Huck absorbed his society's prejudice in thinking blacks intellectually inferior to whites, but his experience with Jim is corroding this prejudice. That being said, the qualification "for a nigger" is blatantly racist; Huck is still bound at this point in the novel to society's way of looking at the world and at Jim.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“My heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’t k’yer no mo’ what become er me en de raf’. En when I wake up en fine you back agin’, all safe en soun’, de tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss’ yo’ foot I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie.”

Related Characters: Jim (speaker), Huckleberry Finn
Related Symbols: The Raft
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

A fog sets in on the Mississippi River as Jim and Huck make for the Ohio, and the two are separated. When reunited, Huck plays a trick in the style of Tom Sawyer on Jim: you dreamed the fog, he says. Jim figures out Huck's trick, however, and responds with this quote.

Huck's trick demonstrates both his childish egocentricity and his racist callousness toward Jim, whom he as yet thinks incapable, perhaps, of the full range of human feeling. Jim's response proves just how ignorant Huck's attitude is. Jim loves Huck deeply – perhaps more deeply than anyone else in the world does. Jim is not selfish like Huck can be either: the raft, Jim's vessel to freedom, means less to him than Huck does. Huck's lies are often charming – and he lies just to stay in practice, as he says – but here he lies without thinking of the consequences of doing so. 

This episode draws a great deal of its power from the fact that Jim has been ripped away from his family by slaveholders. If his heart breaks at the thought of losing Huck, it must have been shattered by that loss – even though many whites at the time of the story deny that blacks are fully human and capable of heartbreak. Twain's novel, in contrast, insists on the full humanity of all of its characters, and in this way his art imitates life and serves as a rebuke to the aspects of American society that continue to believe in white superiority at the time he wrote the novel and even today.

It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger—but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Huck tricks Jim into thinking the two were never separated by a fog that settled on the Mississippi River, and Jim shames Huck for playing such a callous trick. Huck, albeit reluctantly, humbles himself and apologizes to Jim.

In Huck's society, a white person didn't need to treat a black person like a human being, much less apologize. Consequently, in his racist pride, Huck is reluctant to apologize to Jim for wronging him – but Huck is also very different from most other whites in his society, and he recognizes that he really did wrong Jim, and that Jim was right to shame him for it, and that an apology is the only decent thing he can do at this point. Huck recognizes in his heart Jim's inalienable humanity, despite all of the prejudices he's absorbed. 

Huck says he "warn't ever sorry" for apologizing to Jim, which suggests the he expected to regret doing so. His experience is shattering his expectations, and his experience is therefore his most important teacher when it comes to understanding the iniquity of the world he lives in.

Chapter 16 Quotes

Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he was most free—and who was to blame for it? Why, me.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

As Huck and Jim drift on their raft toward Cairo, Ohio, and the free states up North, Jim becomes very excited, and so does Huck, although for very different reasons. Jim is joyous to be almost free, while Huck dreads the idea of having helped a black man escape from bondage.

Huck's spiritual education is not without regressions back into the toxic attitudes and beliefs of the racist society around him. This is one such regression. Even though Huck has recognized that Jim is wholly human, and though he is Jim's friend (whether he would admit it or not at this point), he nonetheless can't help but see himself through society's eyes. What he sees is a person who helped a slave illegally escape from his owner, someone who is blameworthy in the eyes of other whites. This makes Huck anxious, but only because he does not yet have the courage of his convictions. 

Another characteristic of the racist worldview is that whites are the actors in the world, the people who make things happen, while blacks are passive, objects to be acted on and incapable of self-determination. Huck displays that trait here when he asks "who was to blame" for Jim's freedom. He acts as though he singlehandedly freed Jim, as though Jim has no responsibility for his freedom because, being black, he couldn't actively achieve it for himself. This, of course, is a fallacy: Jim is capable of self-determination, and was the actor who effected his own escape. 

Chapter 20 Quotes

“I doan’ mine one er two kings, but dat’s enough. Dis one’s powerful drunk, en de duke ain’ much better.”

Related Characters: Jim (speaker), The duke and king
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Soon after the duke and king join Huck and Jim on the raft, the two conmen get very drunk. Consequently, Jim says that he hopes no more kings come aboard the raft.

This passage is loaded with funny ironies. Jim worries that he and Huck will encounter more kings on their journey, but of course they haven't encountered any real kings, just a couple of liars. But the novel, committed to the values of democracy, seems to be further suggesting here that, in one sense, all dukes and kings are conmen, people who get special privileges without having earned them. History has seen many real drunken kings – are the conmen on the raft really any lesser in comparison?

Huck and Jim are conspicuously patient with their bad company here, which speaks to their amicability. 

Chapter 23 Quotes

I do believe [Jim] cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their’n. It don’t seem natural, but I reckon it’s so.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

Huck's adventure on the raft becomes rollicking and exuberant once the duke and king join up with him and Jim – so much so that Huck doesn't keep in mind Jim's plight. One morning, however, he wakes to find Jim mourning for his wife and children, from whom he's been separated. This quote gives Huck's reaction.

Earlier in the novel, Huck sees through his racist prejudices and recognizes that Jim can be hurt by cruel jokes and have his heart broken by loss like anyone else. However, Huck does not seem to recognize till now that Jim is capable of loving his own family as much as white people are. This error in empathy is challenged by experience, however, when he finds Jim in mourning here.

The big irony of this passage is that there's nothing more natural in the world than that people should love their family members. Huck, however, has been raised to think it unnatural for a black husband and father to care so deeply for his wife and children. Culture teaches us what to think of as natural or unnatural, and it is so effective in this – in Huck's case insidiously so – that we can become blind to what is self-evident and deaf to what our hearts tell us.

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Jim Character Timeline in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The timeline below shows where the character Jim appears in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
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...the Widow Douglas’s house, Huck trips and makes a noise. One of Miss Watson’s slaves, Jim, hears the noise and leans out of the kitchen doorway and asks who’s there. Huck... (full context)
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...from the Widow Douglas’s kitchen, leaving five cents in payment, and then tricks the sleeping Jim by taking Jim’s hat off of his head and hanging it on a nearby tree... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Huck goes on to tell how Jim has a hairball, taken from the belly of an ox, that Jim does magic with.... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...no luck, later he does see a fire. A man is sleeping nearby: it is Jim. Huck greets him, but Jim jumps up, then falls to his knees, begging Huck not... (full context)
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Huck learns that Jim came to Jackson’s Island the night after Huck was allegedly killed, and that the runaway... (full context)
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If it wasn’t Huck killed in the cabin, Jim asks Huck, who was killed? Huck then explains his escape to Jim, who praises the... (full context)
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Some young birds fly by Jim and Huck. Jim says that this is a sign that it is going to rain,... (full context)
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Huck asks if there are any good-luck signs. Jim says there are very few, and that they’re not very useful, because there’s no reason... (full context)
Chapter 9
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In the morning, Huck wants to find the middle of the island, so he and Jim set out and find it. This place is a high hill or ridge with a... (full context)
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Outside, it begins to rain fiercely. Huck is very content, however, and Jim points out that Huck wouldn’t be in the cavern were it not for him, that... (full context)
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One night a two-story cabin floats by. Though Huck and Jim board the cabin through a window, it is too dark to see anything, so they... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Huck wonders who shot the dead man he and Jim discovered, and why, but Jim doesn’t tell him because “it would fetch bad luck.” The... (full context)
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In response, Huck reminds Jim of how, a few days earlier, Huck had fetched a snakeskin with his bare hands,... (full context)
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The next morning, bored, Huck wants to go exploring, which Jim thinks is a good idea, but he reminds Huck that he mustn’t get caught. Huck... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...alleged murder. She says some people think that Pap murdered Huck, while others think that Jim murdered Huck. There is a reward for the capture of either. In fact, the woman’s... (full context)
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...Judith’s house, returns to his canoe, and paddles back to Jackson’s Island, where he tells Jim that people are hunting them. The pair rushes to load the raft and silently paddles... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Huck and Jim drift away from Jackson’s Island, undiscovered by the men looking for them. At dawn, they... (full context)
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...eventually, but the Widow told Huck that such “borrowing” is really just stealing. Huck and Jim discuss this and consequently decide not steal any more crabapples or persimmons. Nevertheless, Huck says... (full context)
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One night during a storm, Huck and Jim see a wrecked steamboat. Huck wants to board it and have an “adventure,” in the... (full context)
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Once onboard the steamboat, Huck and Jim realize that they’re not alone. They hear voices, one of a man pleading for his... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Terrified, Huck and Jim search for the skiff the men used to reach the wreck, at long last finding... (full context)
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In the darkness, Huck and Jim spot their unmanned raft and paddle towards it. Upon reaching it, Jim boards, and Huck... (full context)
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...realizes that all the robbers must have died. He shoves off and, at last, rejoins Jim, on an island, where the pair “turned in and slept like dead people.” (full context)
Chapter 14
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The next day, Huck and Jim enjoy the things they found in the robbers’ skiff, and Huck describes the night before... (full context)
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Huck reads to Jim about kings and noblemen. Huck explains that kings get whatever they want and go to... (full context)
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Huck tells Jim about Louis XVI and his young son, who was jailed after his father’s execution. Jim... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Huck and Jim judge that they are three days out of Cairo, near the Ohio River. The pair... (full context)
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Huck asks Jim if he fell asleep and why Jim didn’t think to wake him. Jim says he... (full context)
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Huck requests that Jim tell him all about his dream, which Jim proceeds to do. Jim even interprets the... (full context)
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...asks what the leaves and rubbish on the raft mean, along with its broken oar. Jim realizes that Huck was tricking him all along. Jim hadn’t been dreaming at all. He... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Huck and Jim continue their journey to Cairo, and, as they approach it, Jim trembles and is feverish... (full context)
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Restless and fidgety like Huck, Jim talks about what he will do when he is free, how he will work and... (full context)
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Jim spots in the distance what he thinks is Cairo. Huck volunteers to paddle over and... (full context)
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...but reasons that he would feel just as bad had he done “right” and turned Jim in. He figures it is easier to do wrong than right, and that the outcome... (full context)
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Huck and Jim resume their journey, passing two towns, only to find out that neither are Cairo. Huck... (full context)
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Huck and Jim learn they have reached the muddy Missouri River, and figure that Cairo is upstream. They... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...Jack through the swamp. Instead of leading Huck to snakes, however, Jack leads him to Jim, hidden on a densely vegetated piece of land. Jim tells Huck that their raft survived... (full context)
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Huck goes to where Jim is hiding. Jim is so glad to see Huck that he hugs him. Huck tells... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...been “so high.” He claims to have been born the Duke of Bridgewater. Huck and Jim pity the man after he begins to cry, and the duke tells the pair that... (full context)
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...king asks for the duke’s hand, and the duke gives it to him. Huck and Jim immediately feel more comfortable after the unfriendliness on the raft dissipates; for, as Huck thinks,... (full context)
Chapter 20
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The duke and king ask Huck and Jim if Jim is a runaway slave. Huck says that Jim’s not and tells a lie,... (full context)
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With Jim still on the raft and the duke at the printing office, Huck and the king... (full context)
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...making, in total, nine and a half dollars. He also printed a wanted poster describing Jim, so that he and the king and Huck and Jim can travel by day; for... (full context)
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That night, as Huck comes up to replace Jim as the lookout, Jim asks Huck if he expects them to run into any more... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...did the audience before. As they eat later that night, the duke and king tell Jim and Huck to float the boat two miles below town and to hide it. On... (full context)
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Back at the raft, Huck and the duke meet up with Jim and the king, who didn’t even go to town for the performance. The duke revels... (full context)
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...really just con men, but he doesn’t think it would do any good to tell Jim that, and anyway, Huck thinks, “you couldn’t tell them from the real kind.” The next... (full context)
Chapter 24
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As the duke and king devise another con, Jim tells the duke that it is uncomfortable to be tied up every day. In response,... (full context)
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...the while imitating an English accent. After hailing a yawl, the duke, king, Huck and Jim all travel to the town where the Wilks family lives. There the duke and king... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...would tell on the duke and king immediately except that he would be endangering someone (Jim), and he proposes a different plan. (full context)
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...the two to escape. Mary Jane is to return in the evening, after Huck and Jim have made their escape, and expose the duke and king, sending for the townspeople of... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...a look at the bag, and Huck immediately makes a run for it. He meets Jim by the river, and the two begin to drift away. Suddenly, though, Huck hears a... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...thieves again, and literally sleeping in one another’s arms. As the two sleep, Huck tells Jim everything that’s happened. (full context)
Chapter 31
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Huck, Jim, and the con men drift downriver for four days, at which point the duke and... (full context)
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As Huck runs to the raft, he shouts with joy to Jim that they are free. But Jim, Huck soon discovers, is gone. Huck can’t help it:... (full context)
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Huck considers writing a letter to Tom Sawyer asking him to tell Miss Watson that Jim is at the Phelps’ farm so Jim can at least be with his family, but... (full context)
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As Huck makes his way to save Jim, he runs into the duke. Over the course of their conversation, the duke tells Huck... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...about his recent adventures. Huck tells Tom that he’s at the Phelps’ farm to rescue Jim, and Tom, after thinking a bit, enthusiastically decides to help Huck rescue him. That Tom... (full context)
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...can go to “‘the show’,” but Uncle Silas says that, according to the runaway slave (Jim) and another man, the show is scandalous. Huck, realizing that the show must be the... (full context)
Chapter 34
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Tom deduces that Jim must be imprisoned in a hunt on the Phelps’ property, based on the fact that... (full context)
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Huck suggests that he and Tom bring up the raft, steal the key to Jim’s hut, and rescue Jim in the night. Tom concedes that Huck’s plan will work, but... (full context)
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Huck and Tom survey the Phelps’ farm and think of ways to bust Jim out of the hut. Tom decides that it would be grand to dig Jim out,... (full context)
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Jim greets Huck and Tom by name, which startles Nat. He asks how it is that... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Tom is dissatisfied that liberating Jim will be so easy. He wishes there were guards to drug, or a guard-dog, or... (full context)
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Tom also proposes that he and Huck make Jim a rope ladder by tearing and tying up their sheets, and that they then bake... (full context)
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Tom also says that Huck should steal a shirt off the clothesline, so that Jim can use it to keep a journal. Huck exclaims that Jim doesn’t even know how... (full context)
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That morning, Huck steals things to give Jim, as well as a watermelon from the slave’s watermelon patch. Tom, however, tells Huck that... (full context)
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Finally, Tom tells Huck that they need to steal tools to dig Jim out of the hut with. Huck asks why they don’t use some picks and shovels... (full context)
Chapter 36
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In the night, Huck and Tom begin digging with their knives to rescue Jim, but after a while are tired, blistered, and realize they haven’t gotten hardly anywhere. The... (full context)
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The next day, Huck and Tom steal a spoon and candlestick from the house for Jim to use as pens, as well as some plates for Jim to write messages on.... (full context)
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Jim tells the boys that Uncle Silas comes into the hut once in a while to... (full context)
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One night, dogs get into Jim’s hut. When Nat sees the dogs, he almost faints, thinking that witches are responsible. Tom... (full context)
Chapter 37
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...stole in her apron along with a nail, both of which she inadvertently delivers to Jim in his hut. (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Tom insists that Jim make an inscription with his coat of arms on the wall of his hut, because... (full context)
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Tom changes his mind. Jim can’t carve inscriptions onto the wooden walls of his hut; he must carve them into... (full context)
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...all the way without help, because it is too heavy, so they go back to Jim’s hut. There, they make it so that Jim can walk freely even though he still... (full context)
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Having gotten the grindstone home and re-chained Jim to his bed, the boys are ready to go to sleep. But before leaving Tom... (full context)
Chapter 39
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Jim is agitated by the creatures that Tom and Huck introduce to his hut. He says... (full context)
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...an anonymous letter to warn the Phelpses that someone is going to try to rescue Jim. Huck mildly protests but soon gives in to Tom’s plan. The boys leave notes and... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...they get ready to take a lunch they have prepared, along with a dress, to Jim. Tom notices there’s no butter with the lunch, so he sends Huck to get some.... (full context)
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...get through with him so he can tell Tom about the farmers and commence rescuing Jim before it’s too late. Aunt Sally questions Huck, but he’s so nervous because the farmers... (full context)
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Huck hurries to meet Tom inside Jim’s hut to tell him about the farmers. Tom is elated, but assures Huck that Jim... (full context)
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...the calf of his leg. He is in considerable pain and bleeding. After some deliberation, Jim says he will not leave Tom’s side. Huck knew that Jim would say that, because... (full context)
Chapter 41
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...he wakes the sun is up. He decides to go to the where Tom and Jim are to prevent the doctor from exposing Jim to capture, but bumps into Uncle Silas... (full context)
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At the Phelps house, neighbors are gathered, talking about how crazy it is that Jim made inscriptions in the grindstone and the like, and they all reason that he must... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...around the breakfast table, Aunt Sally sees Tom on a mattress along with the doctor, Jim with his hands tied, and a bunch of people. Aunt Sally is profoundly relieved to... (full context)
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The men in the mob also cuss at Jim and strike him and put him back in the cabin enchained, but Tom’s doctor tells... (full context)
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...his bedside. He joyfully recounts to an incredulous Aunt Sally how he and Huck helped Jim to escape. However, Tom’s joy gives way to grave disappointment when he learns that Jim... (full context)
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...tells the disgruntled Phelpses all about Huck. She also confirms that Miss Watson had set Jim free two months ago. Finally, during a conversation between the adults, it comes out that... (full context)
Chapter 43
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...in private, he asks Tom what his plan was if they had successfully escaped with Jim. Tom says he planned to have more adventures with Huck and Jim before revealing to... (full context)
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Jim is unchained, and the Phelpses and Aunt Polly, upon learning how Jim helped Tom, take... (full context)
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Tom suggests that he and Huck and Jim travel to the Territory for adventure, but Huck says he doesn’t have enough money. Tom... (full context)