The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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Chapters 2 and 3 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Jim: Miss Watson’s black slave

Jo Harper and Ben Rogers: two members of Tom and Huck’s gang

Tommy Barnes: the youngest member of the gang

As Huck and Tom Sawyer tiptoe through the garden, Huck stumbles over a root, which gets the attention of Jim, Miss Watson’s slave. He calls out, but the boys, afraid of being caught sneaking out at night, become extremely quiet. Jim sits down between them but falls asleep before he is aware that they are near enough to touch. Tom cannot resist the temptation to play a trick on Jim. He hangs Jim’s hat in the tree, knowing that Jim will wonder how it got there. The next day, seeing his hat in the tree, Jim conjures up stories about witches and how they rode him around the world. He is proud of this and consequently the envy of all the other slaves in the neighborhood.

Having sneaked out, Huck and Tom meet Joe Harper, Ben Rogers, and the other members of Tom’s “band of robbers.” Tom Sawyer’s gang is patterned after the “pirate books,” and “robber books” that he has read. They take a skiff down the Mississippi River for several miles to explore the cave that Tom has found earlier. As they organize their gang, the boys take an oath to keep the gang a secret, signing their names in blood. If anyone tells the secret, that boy and his family must be killed. Tom sets the rules. They will become masked highwaymen, stopping stages and carriages, killing the people on board and robbing them of their possessions. Tom wants to kidnap people for ransom, but neither he nor the other boys know what “ransom” means.

When Huck returns early in the morning, his clothes are very dirty, and he receives a scolding from Miss Watson. There is news in town about a drowned body found up the river. Most people think it is Huck’s father, but Huck is sure that it is not.

The boys play robbers for a month but soon tire of it, since they haven’t killed anyone. Furthermore, Tom’s “Spaniards” and “A-rabs” with hundreds of elephants, camels, and mules, loaded down with diamonds, turn out to be only a Sunday school picnic. Tom blames the incident on magicians who have, with the help of genies, changed the Spaniard and A-rab scene into a Sunday school picnic, but Huck feels it is only “one of Tom Sawyer’s lies.”

Discussion and Analysis
In these chapters we meet Jim, a prominent character in the novel. His...

(The entire section is 655 words.)