The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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Chapters 10 and 11 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mrs. Judith Loftus: a lady whom Huck visits in town

The next morning Huck wants to discuss the dead man he and Jim had seen in the two-story frame house, but Jim says talking about it will bring bad luck. Huck argues that touching a snakeskin with his hands was supposed to have brought bad luck too, but to the contrary they have found all those useful items in the floating house and eight dollars besides. They have, in his opinion, had nothing but good luck. Jim’s predictions come true, however, when a rattlesnake bites him that evening. Huck plays a joke on Jim by putting a dead rattlesnake in his blanket. When Jim goes to bed, the snake’s mate is curling around the dead snake and bites Jim in the heel. Jim’s leg is swollen for four days, and Pap’s whiskey comes in handy for the pain.

Huck is getting bored on the island and decides to go into town to see what is happening. Jim likes the idea but cautions him to go at night so he will not be seen. He suggests that Huck disguise himself as a girl. Thinking it is a good idea, Huck dresses in the calico gown and sunbonnet they had found earlier in the floating house.

Trying hard to concentrate on being a girl, Huck paddles to town in his canoe and finds the house of a woman who has been in town only two weeks. Passing as Sarah Williams, he tells her his mother is ill, and he is looking for his uncle’s house. She insists it is too dark for a girl to be out alone, and she wants Huck/Sarah to wait so her husband can escort him to his uncle’s house.

Huck learns the latest gossip as he waits. Although Mrs. Loftus is new in town, she has already heard of Huck’s supposed murder and Jim’s escape. She tells him that at first people thought it was Pap who murdered Huck, but later, after Jim ran away, he became the murder suspect and there is a three hundred dollar reward offered for Jim. She has seen smoke on Jackson’s Island, and her husband is going over after midnight to check out her suspicions that Jim might be hiding on the island.

When Huck hears this, he tries to stay calm but suddenly forgets his name is Sarah Williams. When she throws him a ball of lead, he claps his legs together to catch it...

(The entire section is 847 words.)