What would be some good discussion questions for Chapters 30-31?What would be some good discussion questions for Chapters 30-31?
How are these chapters climactic? With which conflicting ideas does Huck wrestle? On what decision does he act? Is this decision different in any ways from two others previously made?
The central conflict in Huck's development is his helping Jim escape his slavery. In Chapter 8 Huck abandons the society of the Widow Douglas and runs from his father, so his decision to appear as an "abolitionist" matters little to him. Later, Huck writes to Miss Watson telling her where Jim is and feels absolved of his earlier lies. But, he wrestles with his conscience because Jim has been such a good friend to him. So, he opts to "go to hell" for freeing Jim. Finally, when Huck learns that Jim has been sold by the King and the Duke, he chooses to rescue Jim continue his "wickedness." Of course, Huck's decision is the truly moral one, and Twain's satire on society is not lost on his audience.
How does the behavior of the King and Duke change in Chapter 30 and why?
The King and Duke's behavior changes in two ways. First, they begin to argue with each other, which is a stark contrast to how they behaved at the beginning of the novel. In the beginning the pair worked together as a team and played off of each other to scam and con those around them. However, once they leave the Wilkes family they begin to accuse each other of stealing the gold and planting it in the coffin.
Their behavior towards Huck and Jim also changes. Although the two were never particularly nice to the young boy and the slave, now they become downright mean. This sets the stage for the next chapter where the four finally part ways for the final time. The King and Duke are mad at Jim and Huck because it is clear that Jim and Huck intended to leave them behind when they took off on the raft.
- How does Huck's relationship and allegiance with the King and the Duke demonstrate his difficulty in making his own morally-oriented decisions?
- Why does it take Huck so long to betray the King and the Duke?
- Do Huck's actions constitute betrayal, or is Huck simply doing the right thing in telling Ms. Wilks about the King and the Duke?
- How do we see a change in Huck when the King and the Duke betray Jim?
I think some good questions would focus on Huck's response to the king and the duke. Why does he go along with them for so long? Why don't he and Jim just give them the slip? Is he responsible or complicit in their actions?