Chapters 7 and 8 Summary
In the beginning of the chapter Pap wakes up after trying to kill Huck and he doesn't remember any of it. He sends Huck out to the river to check if there are any fish. While Huck is out at the river he sees a canoe and he wants to use it in his escape plan. Huck goes back home and finishes sawing through the cabin to escape. Huck takes everything in the cabin that could be useful and hides it in the canoe he found at the river. Huck goes out and catches a wild pig and then makes it look as if robbers broke into the cabin and took Huck. Then Huck leaves and goes to his canoe where he paddles to an island. In the beginning of chapter eight Huck wakes up after staying at the night on the island and he hears a search party of all of his family and friends. He sees them shoot a cannon over the water to try to find his dead body. Huck stays on the island for a few days living off the land. One day he sees Miss Watson's slave Jim on the island. Jim gets scared and thinks that Huck is a ghost. Later Jim tells Huck that he ran away from Miss Watson because he heard her talking about selling him.
I loved how creative Huck was in this chapter. It was a great way to show that he had street smarts even if he didn't have book smarts. Huck may not know his multiplication tables, but he can stage his murder. I did get confused during part of the book when they fired a cannon and floated bread with mercury in it down the river. I looked it up and was fascinated to find that there were old English superstitions about both of them. It was believed that if you shot a cannon over a dead body the gallbladder would rupture and it would float back up to the surface. In reality all it would really so was shake the person loose if they were stuck to something on the bottom of the river. The bread with quick silver was even more odd. Apparently the superstition arose from it actually working sometimes. The mercury was water resistant, but there was no way that it would "seek out" a dead body. I was worried when Huck found Jim, but I'm happy that Huck was able to go against racism and social norms to be friends with Jim.