Summary and Analysis Chapters 39-40


The entire Phelps’ household is in complete disarray when the escape actually begins. In this manner, the novel has moved even further from the peaceful tranquility of the raft and the river to the chaos of society and the shore. Symbolizing the clash between Romanticism and Realism, Huck and Tom continue to display juxtaposing approaches to the escape and the situation. The arrival of a town posse frightens Huck, but Tom is delighted. When Huck tells Tom that the house is full of men with guns, Tom replies, “Ain’t it bully!” as if the entire escape is a dramatic work of fiction.

Although readers have already recognized Jim as compassionate and caring, Chapter 40 reinforces Jim’s qualities of bravery and loyalty. When they discover that Tom has been shot, Jim adamantly refuses to leave and says, “I doan’ budge a step out’n dis place ‘dout a doctor; not if it’s forty year!” The statement reinforces Jim as a heroic figure capable of sacrifice.


allycumpain elecampane, a tall, hairy perennial plant of the composite family, having flower heads with many slender, yellow rays.