The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Sally and Silas Phelps Character Analysis

Tom Sawyer’s aunt and uncle, respectively, who are both good people and parents, upstanding members of their community, and yet who troublingly support the institution of slavery, exemplified by their detainment of Jim. Huck and Tom trick the Phelpses when preparing for Jim’s escape, much to Aunt Sally’s fury and Uncle Silas’s innocent befuddlement. Aunt Sally offers to adopt Huck at the end of the novel, but he refuses to be “sivilized” by anyone.

Sally and Silas Phelps Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn quotes below are all either spoken by Sally and Silas Phelps or refer to Sally and Silas Phelps. 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 43 Quotes

But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Sally and Silas Phelps
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote comes at the very end of the novel. Jim is free; Tom has healed from his wounds after taking part in Jim's rescue; it has been revealed that Jim had been freed by Miss Watson two months earlier; and Huck is once again in danger of being "sivilized," as he was by the Widow Douglas at the beginning of the novel.

Huck couldn't stand being civilized then, but he soon got used to it. After all, for Huck civilization meant merely dressing nicely and praying. However, he's changed a great deal over the course of his adventures. He's seen how hypocritical society is, and how social customs, traditions, norms, and beliefs – those things we absorb by being "sivilized" – often mask injustice and promote violence. When he says he can't stand being civilized this time, he really means it, because he fully understands what exactly it is he is rejecting when he says no to "sivilizing." He is rejecting the Southern society that relies on racism, slavery, and mob violence – all hypocritically in the name of order and tradition. 

Huck literally plans to be a pioneer and "light out for the Territory," that is, the parts of the western United States that haven't been settled yet, where society hasn't spread. But he will also metaphorically light out for the Territory in this sense: he will strive to be intellectually and imaginatively free, never settling a matter in his mind for good, always retaining an openness to new experiences. This is the great freedom that Huck at last comes to embody.

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Sally and Silas Phelps Character Timeline in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The timeline below shows where the character Sally and Silas Phelps appears in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 31
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...across a boy who tells him that Jim has been captured and taken to Silas Phelps’ farm. Huck also learns that it was the king who turned Jim in for forty... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion and Superstition Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...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 decides that Miss Watson... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...he’s sure the duke is no longer watching, Huck turns around and heads for the Phelps’ farm. (full context)
Chapter 32
Freedom Theme Icon
Huck arrives at the Phelps’ and feels lonesome, because the droning of bugs and quivering of leaves make it feel... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...dogs to scram. The slave is followed by two black children, a white woman ( Aunt Sally ), and two white children, who, Huck notes, respond to him in the same way... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
The woman who welcomes Huck is called Aunt Sally . She takes Huck inside where she questions him about his trip, such that Huck... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
...he could accidentally blow Huck’s cover, so Huck decides to meet him. He tells the Phelpses that he’s going to fetch his baggage from where he hid it, and heads out. (full context)
Chapter 33
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Religion and Superstition Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...begins to ask Huck 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... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Huck returns to the Phelps’ too quickly after meeting Tom, but Uncle Silas, whom Huck considers the “innocentest, best old... (full context)
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...chats, lying very fluently, and at one point he goes so far as to kiss Aunt Sally on the mouth. Aunt Sally jumps up and scolds Tom, even picking up her spinning-stick... (full context)
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Later, one of the Phelps boys asks Uncle Silas if he can go to “‘the show’,” but Uncle Silas says... (full context)
Chapter 34
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Tom deduces that Jim must be imprisoned in a hunt on the Phelps’ property, based on the fact that a slave (Nat) goes to that hut with human... (full context)
Religion and Superstition Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Huck and Tom survey the Phelps’ farm and think of ways to bust Jim out of the hut. Tom decides that... (full context)
Chapter 35
Growing Up Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...thinks this plan is unnecessary, but Tom disagrees. Huck gives in, but cautions Tom that Aunt Sally will be greatly displeased to find that the boys have torn up her sheets. Huck... (full context)
Chapter 36
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Jim tells the boys that Uncle Silas comes into the hut once in a while to pray with him, and that Aunt... (full context)
Chapter 37
Growing Up Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Uncle Silas finds the nail in his hat but doesn’t mention it. Tom recognizes that Uncle Silas... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 39
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Tom says that he and Huck need to write an anonymous letter to warn the Phelpses that someone is going to try to rescue Jim. Huck mildly protests but soon gives... (full context)
Chapter 40
Growing Up Theme Icon
The Phelps family is troubled and anxious after receiving the anonymous letter Tom wrote. Tom and Huck... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...the sitting room, Huck is surprised to see fifteen farmers, all with guns. Huck wishes Aunt Sally would get through with him so he can tell Tom about the farmers and commence... (full context)
Chapter 41
Freedom Theme Icon
...and Jim are to prevent the doctor from exposing Jim to capture, but bumps into Uncle Silas as he sets out. Eventually, Uncle Silas takes Huck home, much to Aunt Sally’s relief. (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
At the Phelps house, neighbors are gathered, talking about how crazy it is that Jim made inscriptions in... (full context)
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Aunt Sally grows increasingly worried that “Sid” (i.e., Tom) hasn’t come home yet. Huck volunteers to fetch... (full context)
Chapter 42
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
The next morning, as Huck and the Phelpses sit around the breakfast table, Aunt Sally sees Tom on a mattress along with the... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Tom begins to recover, and comes fully to as Aunt Sally and Huck sit at his bedside. He joyfully recounts to an incredulous Aunt Sally how... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to Aunt Sally’s delight. She reveals Tom and Huck’s true identities, and tells the disgruntled Phelpses all about Huck. She also confirms that Miss Watson had set Jim free two months... (full context)
Chapter 43
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Jim is unchained, and the Phelpses and Aunt Polly, upon learning how Jim helped Tom, take very good care of the... (full context)
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...was hard work. He says that he needs to head out to the Territory soon; Aunt Sally is going to try to “sivilize” him, which he can’t stand, because, he says, “I... (full context)