The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Chapter 29 - Summary & Analysis

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SUMMARY

      The two newcomers, who also claim to be the real brothers of old Peter Wilks, arrive. Huck expects the King and the Duke to turn pale but he is surprised when they remain as unabashed and confident as ever. Ironically, the King looks at the newcomers with great contempt as if it sickens him to see how deceitful people can be! Huck is quick to notice that the old gentleman does pronounce words in the true English accent. But, except halt a dozen people, the remaining townspeople are so smitten by the charisma of the King and the Duke that they fail to notice the authentic English accent of one of the newcomers. The older one of the "new brothers" claims that the younger one has broken his arm and that they have lost their baggage somewhere on the way. The King mocks at what he calls contrivances and gathers the sympathy of most of the townspeople. It is decided that everybody should go to a hotel room for interrogation of the four brothers' in question. A string of tests is carried out in order to arrive at the truth. A man named Hines gives his testimony that he had seen the King extracting information from the young man who was on his way to Orleans. Huck is the first one to be questioned about his life in England. He talks about Sheffield but his awkwardness gives him away.

      Dr. Robinson teams up with Levi Bell, the lawyer, and together they carry out some more investigations. As part of these, the authenticity of the 'brothers' has to be established based on their respective handwriting. Following this, one of the (real) "brothers" offers to take another test to prove his identity. He claims that the deceased's chest has a tattoo mark on it while the king says that there is no such mark. Since the man who had buried old Peter Wilks had not noticed any such mark himself, it is decided that the coffin be dug up. Everyone proceeds towards the graveyard. At this point of time, Huck goes through terrible turmoil. Understandably, an apprehension grips him.

      The bag of gold is discovered and, in the mayhem that ensues, Huck dashes towards the river. He spots a canoe that is fastened with nothing but a thin rope. He loses no time and reaches the raft where Jim is waiting. By the time he reaches there, he is absolutely drained out and instructs Jim to set sailing immediately. When he sees Jim coming towards him, with his arms spread out, he feels mighty frightened on seeing a horrendous painted figure charging towards him. Then he remembers that the King had painted Jim blue and he regains some of his composure. They set to sail and begin celebrating their freedom from the clutches of the two frauds. They start dancing and skipping. Jim is particularly happy to have got rid of the two men. Just then Huck hears a familiar sound and, on listening more attentively, realizes that it is the King and the Duke. They catch up with the two boys and ruin their celebrations.

The two newcomers, who also claim to be the real brothers of old Peter Wilks, arrive. Huck expects the King and the Duke to turn pale but he is surprised when they remain as unabashed and confident as ever. Ironically, the King looks at the newcomers with great contempt as if it sickens him to see how deceitful people can be! Huck is quick to notice that the old gentleman does pronounce words in the true English accent. But, except halt a dozen people, the remaining townspeople are so smitten by the charisma of the King and the Duke that they fail to notice the authentic English accent of one of the newcomers. The older one of the "new brothers" claims that the younger one has broken his arm and that they have lost their baggage somewhere on the way. The King mocks at what he calls contrivances and gathers the sympathy of most of the townspeople. It is decided that everybody should go to a hotel room for interrogation of the four brothers' in question. A string of tests is carried out in order to arrive at the truth. A man named Hines gives his testimony that he had seen the King extracting information from the young man who was on his way to Orleans. Huck is the first one to be questioned about his life in England. He talks about Sheffield but his awkwardness gives him away.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Chapter 29

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

      Huck has gradually become more and more critical of the King and the Duke. He finds their demeanor extremely sickening - they are "regular dead-beats" - when they try to show their syrupy benevolence towards the Wilks' family.

      It has been argued that Huck's decision to help the Wilks' sisters stems partly from his good nature and humanity and partly owing to his suppressed interest in Mary Jane. He finds her "beautiful" and says that "she was the best girl I ever see, and had the most sand" (chapter 28).

      On Huck's flight from the Wilk's house, during the funeral, be feels "sorry and disappointed when he does not catch a glimpse of Mary Jane. He is unable to explain his disappointment. Suddenly, he notices her by the window and his "heart swelled up sudden, like to bust".

      But the stance, that Huck's resolution to help the girls is as a result of his attraction towards Mary Jane, is debatable. After all, this is not the first time that he has shown his generous nature towards somebody.

      Dr. Robinson is a cynic. Amongst the entire population of the town, he and the lawyer, Levi Bell, are the only ones who are judicious enough to disbelieve the two conmen. They are truly educated man who probably reflect Twain's own skeptical views on mankind. It is noteworthy that, while the doctor scorns the two imposters, he has a soft corner for Huck and "was plenty kind enough". Maybe he has real sense of judgment. Being a sensible man, he has the faculty to discern the fact that the latter is not party to the whole game played by the King and the Duke and that he is an innocent victim of circumstances.

      Though Huck has resorted to lies throughout his journey, he is not a seasoned liar. During the interrogations, the lawyer, Levi Bell, notices that Huck is not a good liar. He says, "Set down, my boy; I wouldn't strain myself if I was you. I reckon you ain't used to lying, it don't seem to come handy; what you want is practice. You do it pretty awkward. Huck can lie very convincingly when his lies are for a good cause and when it doesn't hurt anybody. But when it entails deception, his moral sense prevents him from resorting to it. When it comes to lying, he is not as confident as the King. He says, "This was the most awful trouble and most dangersome I ever was in......and have Mary Jane at my back to save me and set me free when the close-fit come, here was nothing in the world betwixt me and sudden death but just them tattoo-marks. If they didn't find them.. His nervousness at the prospect of being caught and the turbulence of his mind paints him in positive light.

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