Study Guide Questions for Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Chapters 1-3

1. Identify: Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Jim, Miss Watson and Widow Douglas.
2. Why doesn't Huck get along with Miss Watson and Widow Douglas?
3. What does Huck think about religion, particularly the good place, the bad place and prayer?
4. Provide two examples of superstition in this section of the novel.
5. Contrast Huck and Tom. What are their main differences? Similarities?
6. Why did Twain choose a young boy as the narrator for the novel?
7. Give an example of satire (a device in literature that blends criticism of society with humor).
8. Compare and contrast the Widow Douglas to her sister, Miss Watson.
9. At what period in history does the story take place?
10. What do the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson try to teach Huck in order to “civilize” him?
11. What did the slaves do before they went to bed at night?
12. Who gave the catcall after midnight?
13. Where does Tom take Huck and the gang?
14. What does Jim think has happened when he finds his hat hanging in the tree?
15. When Tom’s gang tries to rob the rich “Spaniards” and “A-rabs,” who do they actually rob?
16. Where does Tom get his ideas for robbing and killing people?
17. If anyone reveals the secrets of the gang, the boy and his family must be killed. Whom does Huck offer as his family to be killed?
18. Contrast the personalities of Huck and Tom.
19. Whose slave is Jim?
20. Who are Joe Harper and Ben Rogers?
21. What purpose does the Mississippi River serve in the novel?
22. How wide is the river in this chapter?

Chapters 4-7

1. Why did Huck give his money to Judge Thatcher?
2. Describe Pap Finn. What kind of a person is he?
3. What is Huck's attitude towards his father?
4. Why does Pap yell at Huck for becoming civilized? Is he right?
5. What was Huck's plan of escape from his father?
6. How do you know that material things don't matter to Huck?
7. How does Huck feel about school in these chapters?
8 How does Huck know his pap is back in town?
9. Why is Huck in a big hurry to give Judge Thatcher his money?
11. What does Judge Thatcher give Huck in exchange for the six thousand dollars?
12. Huck consults Jim about his father. What does he want to know?
13. How does Pap feel about Huck’s ability to read and write?
14. Who goes to court to gain custody of Huck?
15. Who takes Pap into their house in an attempt to reform him?
16. Does Pap turn over a new leaf as he says he will? Explain your answer.
17. What is Twain’s commentary on superstition in Chapter 4?
18. Pap kidnaps Huck. Where does he take him?
19. Why does Huck want people to think that he is dead?
20. Does Pap get Huck’s six thousand dollars?
21. What does Pap do with Huck when he goes to town for supplies?
22. What tool does Huck use to escape from the cabin?
23. Why does Huck kill the pig?
24. What does the “June rise” of the river bring with it for Huck?
25. Why does Huck wish Tom Sawyer were with him?
26. Why does Huck suddenly enjoy school?
27. Huck sleeps in the canoe just before he escapes to Jackson’s Island. What is he waiting for?

Chapters 8-11

1. What purpose(s) does Huck's death serve?
2. How does Huck meet Jim on Jackson's Island? Why is Jim there?
3. What is in the two-story house that floats by?
4. Give three examples of Man vs. Society in this section.
5. How are the townspeople superstitious? Jim? Huck? Give examples.
6. Compare/contrast Huck & Jim.
7. Why does Huck dress as a girl to go ashore? Why does he go? What does he find out?
8. How do you know Huck and Jim are friends by the end of Chapter XI?
9. What interrupts Huck’s comfortable and relaxed feeling the first morning on the island?
10. Why are the townspeople on the river that morning?
11. What is found in the bread that is floating on the water?
12. What will people say if they discover that Huck is harboring a slave?
13. What is Miss Watson tempted to do with her slave, Jim?
14. What happens to the island when it rains?
15. What do Huck and Jim find on the island that has been washed down by the flood?
16. Where do Huck and Jim make their home on the island?
17. What does a rattlesnake do when its mate dies?
18. Jim thinks there is a reason why the rattlesnake bit him. What is the reason?
19. How long does it take for Jim’s swelling on his leg to go down?
20. What is the name of the forty-year-old woman whom Huck talks to in town?
21. What crime is Jim accused of?
22. Why does Huck build a fire at his old campsite?
23. How does Mrs. Loftus know that Huck is not a girl?
24. What reward is offered for Huck’s father?
25. How does Huck react when Mrs. Loftus says that people think Jim murdered Huck?

Chapters 12-14

1. Why do Huck and Jim begin their journey down the Mississippi?
2. Why do Huck and Jim board the Walter Scott?
3. Why does Huck want to save Jim Turner?
4. How does Huck send help to the Walter Scott?
5. What do we learn about Jim from his talking about "King Sollermun"?
6. What is a towhead?
7. After it gets dark Jim builds a protection from the rain. What does he build?
8. What is the “texas” part of a steamboat?
9. Why does Huck wish Tom Sawyer could be with him to explore the wrecked steamboat?
10. What does Huck finally say to get action from the captain of the ferryboat?
11. What does Huck mean when he says “I lifted a chicken” and “borrowed a watermelon”?
12. What happens to the raft while Huck and Jim explore the wrecked steamboat?
13. What happened to the skiff at the end of Chapter 13?
14. How did Jim feel about Huck’s “adventure” on the Walter Scott?
15. Which king was familiar to Jim?
16. Who was the French king who was beheaded?
17. Who was his son?
18. Why are Huck and Jim separated in the fog?

Chapters 15-18

1. What trick does Huck play on Jim?
2. How does Jim feel about the trick?
3. Why doesn't Huck turn in Jim?
4. Why don't the slave hunters get Jim?
5. Explain the differences between Huck and the hunters.
6. What is the bad luck in Chapter 16?
7. How does Huck get to the Grangerfords?
8. Why did Twain include this adventure with the Grangerfords?
9. How many nights will it take to get to Cairo?
10. Where has Huck learned about kings?
11. Which river will Huck and Jim travel to get to the free states?
12. Why does Huck’s conscience bother him as they approach what they think is Cairo?
13. What does Huck tell the slave hunters about his predicament?
14. What do the men in the skiff do for Huck?
15. Does Huck feel better after he has protected Jim from the slave hunters?
16. What destroys the raft?
17. How can Huck and Jim tell that they have missed Cairo in the fog?
18. Why does Jim think they have had such bad luck?
19. Why does Huck go into long descriptions of the furnishings and pictures in the Grangerford’s house?
20. Who do the Grangerfords think Huck might be when the dogs bark at him?
21. What has happened to Jim in these chapters?
22. Why are the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons feuding?
23. Name the couple who run off and get married?
24. What happens to the young couple after the shooting starts?
25. What secret does Miss Sophia ask Huck to keep?

Chapters 19-25

1. How did Jim and Huck meet the king and duke?
2. Why does Huck think the duke and the king are after him when they first meet?
3. Does Huck believe their story?
4. Give two examples of the "cleverness" of the king and duke.
5. Why did the people return to the show?
6. What's the point of the incident of the shooting of Boggs?
7. Why do we hear about Jim's daughter "'Lizabeth"?
8. Where did the king and duke get their plan about being the Wilks brothers?
9. Do Huck and Jim expect to paddle their newly-found canoe up the Ohio River?
10. How does Jim feel when he sees Huck again? What does he think has happened to him?
11. Where is Huck while the shooting is going on?
12. Who leads Huck to Jim?
13. How does Huck explain the fact that they travel at night and sleep during the day?
14. What do the people at the camp meeting expect the king to do with the money they collect for him?
15. How does Jim treat Huck during the storm at night?
16. How do the duke and the king plan to make it safe for Jim to travel during the day?
17. What does the duke mean when he says he will call back Hamlet’s soliloquy from “recollection’s vaults”?
18. Why is the duke’s version of Hamlet’s soliloquy confusing?
19. Who is assigned the role of Juliet in the “Shakespearean Revival”?
20. Why does Colonel Sherburn murder Boggs?
21. What is Colonel Sherburn’s ultimatum in regard to Boggs?
22. Who is called for to quiet Boggs down?
23. Who faces the mob single-handed?
24. Who is Twain satirizing in this situation?
25. What attracts the crowd at the showing of The Royal Nonesuch?
26. Why do the king and the duke leave during the third performance?
27. Approximately how many people attend the Shakespearean performance?
28. Why do the king and duke change to another show?
29. What does Huck mean when he says that all kings are “rapscallions”?
30. What does Jim do for Huck that shows he cares about him?
31. What disease caused Jim’s daughter’s deafness?
32. What does the duke do so that Jim does not need to be tied up in the wigwam all day?
33. Who gives the king the information about the Wilks family?
34. What are the names of the three Wilks sisters?
35. Who meets the king, the duke, and Huck when they reach the shore in the yawl?
36. How do the Wilks girls react when they see the king and the duke?
37. How does the crowd react when the king names several of Peter Wilks’ closest friends and invites them for supper?
38. Does the duke say anything to the townspeople?
39. Why do the king and duke give the Wilks sisters $415 of their own money?
40. Who is Dr. Robinson? How does he feel about the king and the duke?
41. What does Dr. Robinson think about the king’s English accent?

Chapters 26-31

1. How do the king and duke get the money?
2. Why does Huck steal the money from the mattress?
3. Why doesn't Huck's conscience bother him when he lies so much?
4. What things give away the king and duke?
5. Why is Huck upset when Jim is sold?
6. Why it is important that Huck says, "All right, then, I'll go to hell."?
7. Why do the women insult their own food?
8. What incident in the novel convinces Huck that he must get the money back to the Wilks girls?
9. In what way will Huck get the money from the king and the duke?
10. Where does Huck hurriedly hide the money? Why does he choose this particular spot?
11. How do the king and the duke justify selling the property so soon after the funeral?
12. Where do the slaves go when they are sold?
13. Why does the king sell the slaves the day after the funeral? How does the duke feel about this?
14. Why does the duke wish he had kept the slaves?
9. How do the Wilks girls react when the slaves are sold?
15. Why doesn’t Huck tell on the king and the duke when they allow the slaves to be separated from their families?
16. Why does Huck tell Mary Jane the truth?
17. Why does Hines think that the king is an imposter?
18. Why does Huck ask Mary Jane to leave town?
19. How does Huck tell Mary Jane that he put the bag of money in the coffin?
20. How does Levi Bell propose to find who the true Wilks brothers are?
21. What were the misfortunes of the Wilks brothers?
22. How do they finally solve the problem of identification?
23. Why don’t they believe Huck when he says he’s English?
24. On his way to the raft what does Huck see in the middle of town?
25. Why did Hines let go of Huck’s hand allowing him to get away?
26. What do Huck and Jim do as soon as Huck gets back to the raft?
2.7 Who do the king and the duke blame for stealing the money?
28. Who captured Jim and sold him?
29. Where did Jim go after he was sold?
30. What does Huck tell the duke about the raft when he meets him in town?
31. Why can’t Huck pray when he tries?
32. Why does Huck tear up his letter to Miss Watson?
33. Why is Chapter 31 a climactic chapter in the novel?
34. How does Huck feel about his decision to “buy Jim out of slavery”?
35. Why doesn’t Huck tell on the king and duke when he has a chance?

Chapters 32-39

1. Why does Huck go to the Phelps Plantation?
2. Why does Huck assume Tom Sawyer's identity?
3. What happens when Tom appears on the scene?
4. What's the difference between Tom's plan for freeing Jim and Huck's?
5. How does Huck change when Tom comes?
6. Tom's plan is actually cruel. Why?
7. What more do we learn about Tom in these chapters?
8. How does Tom react when Huck tells him he is going to steal Jim from the Phelps Plantation?
9. Who is the stranger that arrives at the Phelps Plantation after Huck? What does the stranger call himself?
10. Who informs Mr. Phelps about the king and the duke and their Royal Nonesuch show?
11. What happens to the king and the duke as a result?
12. What do Huck and Tom do to try to warn the king and the duke about possible trouble ahead?
13. How does Huck feel when he sees what the townspeople have done to the two frauds?
14. Why does Huck’s conscience bother him concerning the incident with the king and duke?
15. How does Tom finally guess Jim’s whereabouts?
16. Why is Huck in awe of Tom’s intelligence?
17. Why does Huck think Tom’s plan for freeing Jim is better than his?
18. What is Huck’s first and most practical plan of escape?
19. What are some of Huck’s other plans of escape for Jim?
20. Why does Tom want to saw the bedpost leg in half?
21. Why does Huck think Tom’s plan is foolish?
22. Where does Huck get the bedsheets for the rope ladder?
23. What plan do they finally adopt to free Jim?
24. How long does Tom think it should take to dig Jim out?
25. When the case knives are too slow for digging, what do Huck and Tom decide to use instead? 2. When Tom goes upstairs to bed what does he pretend the stairs are?
26. According to Tom why do the witches come to visit Nat at breakfast?
27. How many new shirts has Aunt Sally made in the last two years?
28. Why does Uncle Silas find the missing spoon in his pocket?
29. What two missing items have been stolen off of the clothesline?
30. What do Huck and Tom bake into the witch’s pie?
31. What do Huck and Tom do to confuse Aunt Sally about her silverware?
32. Why do they need a bedsheet?
33. Why do Tom and Huck want to confuse Aunt Sally?
34. How were pens and saws made by Jim and Huck?
35. What does Tom decide to use for the coat of arms and the mournful inscriptions?
36. What does Jim threaten to do if Tom forces him to live with rattlesnakes?
37. What does Tom substitute for the rattlesnakes?
38. What animal bites him? What does he do with the blood?
39. How is Jim supposed to water his flower?
40. What happens to the rats under Aunt Sally’s bed? How does Aunt Sally feel about them?
41. Where do the garter snakes go after they crawl out of the bag in the boys’ bedroom?
42. Why does Jim have trouble sleeping at night?
43. What does Tom’s last anonymous letter reveal?

Chapters 40-43

1. How does Huck appear to be superior to Tom?
2. What happens to Jim?
3. What happens to Tom?
4. Where has Huck forgotten the butter for the boys’ lunch?
5. Who does Huck find in the “setting-room?”
6. What happens to Tom’s britches when the three are escaping to the river and the raft?
7. Why don’t the dogs pay any attention to Huck, Jim, and Tom?
8. What has happened to Tom during the escape?
9. What does Huck tell the doctor about Tom’s bullet wound?
10. Why does the doctor leave Huck on the shore when he goes to take care of Tom?
11. Where does Huck sleep all night?
12. What is going on at the Phelps Plantation when Huck gets there?
13. Why doesn’t Huck leave the house at night to check on Tom at the raft?
14. When Tom finally comes home who accompanies him?
15. How do the men treat Jim as a runaway slave?
16. What do they threaten to do to Jim to teach the other slaves a lesson?
17. Why don’t they do what they feel like doing to Jim?
18. What is Jim’s punishment when he gets back to his cabin?
19. When Tom wakes up what does he reveal to Aunt Sally?
20. Who arrives to surprise her sister?
21. Who first reveals Jim’s freedom? How is Jim freed?
22. What happened to Pap?
23. What does Huck plan to do at the novel’s end?