The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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Chapters 18 and 19 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Colonel Grangerford: father of the Grangerford family

Mrs. Grangerford: mother of the family

Miss Charlotte: member of the family (twenty-five years old)

Miss Sophia: her twenty-year-old sister

Harney Sheperdson: the man Miss Sophia marries

Jack: Huck’s personal servant

Duke of Bridgewater: an imposter

The Dauphin: an imposter, supposed son of the late Louis XVI, King of France

Summary
Huck’s description of Colonel Grangerford, from his white linen suit to his gentlemanly ways, paints a picture of a typical aristocratic landowner of the day. He is a wealthy man who supplies each member of his family with a private servant.

The Shepherdsons are another aristocratic clan in the area. According to Huck they are as “well-born, and rich, and grand” as the Grangerfords. While Huck and Buck Grangerford are out hunting one day, Buck hears a horse and suddenly takes cover in the bushes. When Harney Shepherdson gallops by, Buck opens fire with his gun and knocks Harney’s hat off of his head. Harney, gun in hand, heads straight for the boys, but they run all the way home where they must face the colonel. He feels Buck should have stepped into the middle of the road to face his enemy with bravery.

Huck questions Buck about the feud and he naively explains that it is a quarrel one man has with another man. He kills him, and the brothers retaliate with more killing until “everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud.” The feud started 30 years ago, but nobody knows why.

On Sunday the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons sit in church together with their guns held “between their knees” while they listen to the minister’s sermon on brotherly love. In the afternoon Miss Sophia secretly asks Huck to get the Testament she has forgotten at church. He sees no one at church except a few hogs who have wandered in through the open door. Pulling a note from the Testament, Miss Sophia makes Huck promise not to tell anyone.

Jack, Huck’s servant at the Grangerfords, has been following Huck around and when they are out of range of any people he beckons him to the swamp to show him some water moccasins. When Jack leaves, Huck is suddenly startled as he runs into Jim’s hiding place. Jim is not surprised to see him. He tells Huck that he heard him yelling on the river the night the raft was hit by the steamboat but was afraid if he answered he might be caught and sold into slavery again. He has not contacted Huck for fear the dogs at the Grangerfords would track him down. He has been repairing the damaged raft that had been found snagged in some willow trees.

The next day Miss Sophia runs off to marry Harney Shepherdson, and the feud breaks out into a full-blown shooting match. Many people from both sides are killed. After Huck sees Buck’s dead body, he takes off into the woods to find Jim and the raft. He vows never to go back, and he and Jim lose no time getting the raft onto the river again.

For several days Huck and Jim enjoy the peacefulness...

(The entire section is 1,159 words.)