Chapters 21-24 Summary
In the beginning of the chapter the two con men act out scenes from different Shakespeare plays. They often mess up lines, and in general aren't very good, but Huck thinks that they are impressive. Then they go to another small town. There are a few people loitering the streets, and Huck ends up seeing a drunk man shoot someone. A group of people gathers around the dying man and then the go off to hang the man who shot him. The con men advertise for a play. In the next chapter the lynch mob heads to the home of the drunk man. When they get there they find the drunk man, but he has a gun in his hand. The man then goes off onto a speech, and the crowd ends up dispersing. Huck goes to a circus where he sees a clown pretending to be drunk, most people in the crowd find it hilarious, but Huck is worried for the clown. The con men's show doesn't turn out well, only a few show up and they laugh at the performance. The con man prints out another playbill for a show that no women or children are allowed to attend. The con men put on a play the next night and the house gets filled up. The play is short and people are frustrated they get ripped off, but to assuage their embarrassment they tell everyone else in town it is good. The second night of the show is just as full as the first. On the third night the people come to get revenge, but the con men, Jim, and Huck run away from the town. Jim is worried that the Duke and Dauphin are such thieves, but Huck tells Jim about past kings that have done bad things, but his history lesson isn't very accurate. Jim reminisces about his children. In the next chapter Huck, Jim, and the con men go to another town. Jim complains about having to pretend to be a caught slave so the con men disguise him as an Arab. Then the Dauphine and Huck go onto a ferry. They meet a man who talks about his two brothers from England. Then they return to the town and the con men pretend that they are the man's brothers from England and that they are sad that he is dead. One of the con men even pretends to be deaf. Huck s ashamed of their dissoluteness.
In this chapter I felt that the people were kind of gullible to keep attending the con men's plays even after they knew they were a rip off. I also was frustrated by the sexism in the fact that no women were allowed to go to the play only men. Women are just as mature and capable of doing anything that men are. Also people's gullibility to fall into the trap of the whole forbidden fruit. People hear that only an exclusive group can come, and suddenly they want to go. I thought that Sherburn although a bad person was very smart in knowing how to calms down and break up the people that were trying to kill him. Many people would freak out in the face of death, but he stayed calm and saved himself.