Huckleberry Finn- Huck

’s Lies Essay, Research Paper

In Samuel L. Clemens novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the main

character finds himself living in a society that does not suit him. Everywhere

he looks there are people who value things that he sees as meaningless. Huck

Finn feels trapped and begins his journey down the river in an effort to find

someone or some place that will bring him happiness. Almost immediatly he


this person in the form a run away slave. In this story, Huck and Jim are

against the entire world, and every person they come in contact with has the

potential to destroy their plans of happiness and freedom. Under these

circumstances Huck is forced to tell many lies, but the only one he regrets is

the one that he tells Jim.

The biggest and most harmful lie Huck tells is when he fakes his own

murder in his fathers shack. He goes through a great deal of trouble to make

sure that people believe that he is dead, and it is not until the end of the

novel that it becomes known to the people of his home town that he is actually

alive. He had been a likable young boy, and people in the town had thought

highly of him. This is evident from his relationship with adults like the widow

and the judge. Jim even tells him ?I?uz powerful sorry you?s killed, Huck, but

I ain?t no mo, now?. (1292) Based on Huck?s consistent concern for others, it

is likely that he would have written home to inform them that he was still

alive if it had not been for his situation with Jim. However, he does not want

to risk doing anything that might get Jim captured, so he writes no letter.

Huck finds himself working against the world. He is not an immature boy

that tells lies just for the sake of doing so, but rather he tells them in

order to protect himself and also Jim. In the instance where he dresses up like

a girl and speaks with the farmer?s wife in an effort to find out what is being

said about their situation, the information that he gets ultimately saves them

from the capture of a building search party. Even though he is caught in the

first lie and it is discovered that he is actually a young boy rather than a

girl, Huck manages to convince the woman that he simply a run away. He quickly

creates a new lie and better lie, and she has no idea about his true identity.

In this instance of lies that Huck tells there is no victim. Huck learns

crucial information that he would have never gotten through honesty, and with

this information he is able to continue on his journey with Jim.

Another one of Huck’s lies is one that he tells to the watchman on the

on the steam ship. He knows that this man is the only person who can help the

group of murders that were soon going to drown in the river. Under the

circumstances, Huck could not tell the man the truth because he had stolen

their boat to save Jim?s and his own life, Jim would have been danger of being

captured, and most lily the watchman would have not bothered to go save a band

of murders. Since the truth was not an option, Huck creates an elaborate story

of women in distress, and reward money. After all is done, in reflection on his

actions Huck says ?I was feeling ruther comfortable on accounts of taking all

of the trouble for that gang, for not many would a done it.?(1311) He clearly

believes here that he has done a good thing in telling that lie. He knows that

he saved these men?s lives, and he would not have been able to do so with the


The one lie that Huck clearly regrets telling is the one that he tells

to Jim. After their accidental separation, Huck returns to the raft and acts as

though he hasn?t been gone. Huck goes on to claim that Jim imaged the entire

thing. In response to Jim?s delight in seeing Huck alive and well Huck says,

?What is the matter with you Jim? You been a drinking??(1316) Jim asks Huck


look him in the eye and say that he had not been gone anywhere, and Huck does

as he asks. Jim soon realizes that Huck is not telling him the truth. Jim says

to Huck ?en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren?s en

makes ?em ashamed.?(1318) This makes Huck feel terrible and after


to Jim he claims that he would have never had done it if he had known how it

would have made him feel.

The above are not the only lies that Huck tells in this story. He is

actually quite good at telling lies and he continues to tell them up unitl the

end of the story, but what the majority of Huck’s lies have in common is that

they protect both him and Jim from the society of southerners that he has

turned his back on. Huck chooses to follow what he feels in his heart rather

that what he has been taught by those around him. The lies he tells are told so

that he can continue in his search for happiness, truth, and freedom. For the

most part Huck?s lies are morally good which seems like a contradiction.

Ironically, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ends with Huck?s salutation of

?Yours Truly?. The fact is that Clemens uses Huck?s morally sound lies as a

reflectionon the true nature of American society during the time of slavery. Inbox | *Prev Next*


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