Sample Close Reading

Chapter 24 "Pretty soon we come to..." to the end of ch.


As the duke, the dauphin, Jim, and Huck make their way to another town, they disguise Jim in a gown. They then board a steamboat and a talkative boy tells the dauphin about a recently deceased man in the town named Peter Wilks. Wilks sent for his two brothers and left a lot of his property to his two brothers when he died, but he's not sure when the brothers will arrive in town. After they arrive and exit off the boat, the king asks where Mr.Peter Wilks lives and acts surprised and horrified after hearing that he is dead. The townspeople sympathize with them and Huck says this scene was "enough to make a body ashamed of the human race."


The duke and the dauphin are clearly not the best con men, but their deceptions work because of the ignorance and blind acceptance of their subjects. The duke and dauphin, although they act as if they are intelligent, are not at all but succeed in their frauds because of people's willingness to believe everything that is presented to them and lack of personal thought.

Additional Questions Raised

1) What is Twain saying about American people as a whole, who are easily tricked by two con men who are quite obviously frauds?

2.) What is Twain suggesting about religious corruption and it's effects on the American people?


"The King and the Duke." Villains Wiki. CC-BY-SA. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

"Summary." The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Study Guide: Rebekah Smith. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

"Chapters 29, 30, and 31." Kelly's Huck Finn Study Guide. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

"Mark Twain Biography." A&E Networks Television. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.