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Huck finns contradiction

Huck's Contradiction

In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Huck was a boy who

thought very little of himself, but had a huge impact on others. His moral standing was

based on what is easier, right or wrong. He lived the way he wanted to live, and no one

told him otherwise. He had the adventure of a lifetime, and yet he learned along the way.

Although Huck has certain beliefs about himself, his actions and decisions contradict

these beliefs.

Huck may consider himself lazy, but in reality, he is a very hard worker. At one

point, Huck wants to get away from his father so he comes up with a scheme to fake his

death and escape from his cabin: "I out with my saw and went to work on that log

again. I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where the canoe was hid and shoved

the vines and branches apart and put it in. I had wore the ground a good deal, crawling

out of the hole and dragging out so many things. So I fixed that as good as I could from

the outside. Then I fixed the piece of log back into its place. I took the ax and

smashed in the door-I beat it and hacked it considerable, a-doing it. I fetched the

pig.and laid him down on the ground to bleed. Well, last I pulled out some of my hair,

and bloodied the ax good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung the ax in the corner"

(24). If Huck were lazy, he would not have gone through all that trouble to escape, if he

escaped at all. A lazy person would have just stayed there and not worried about what

happened. At another point in the novel, Huck and a runaway slave, Jim, are on an island

where they think they will not get caught. Huck decides to go to town to get information

dressed as a girl. "So we shortened up one of the calico gowns and I turned up my

trouser-legs to my knees and got into it. I put on the sun-bonnet and tied it under my

chin. I practiced around all day to get the hang of the things, and by-and-by I could do

pretty well in them" (41). If Huck was even remotely lazy he would have just stayed on

the island and enjoyed the freedom. His going to town as a girl shows that he will do

anything to get what he wants, whereas a lazy person would try to take the easy route. A

third time Huck shows that he is not lazy is when he and two scoundrels, the King and the

Duke, are staying with the daughters of a recently deceased man. The King and the Duke

are trying to get the dead man's assets by pretending to be his brothers. Huck goes

through a lot of work to make sure the girls get to keep their money: "So, thinks I, I'll go

search their rooms. So then I went to his room and begun to paw around there. But I

couldn't do nothing without a candle, and I dasn't light one. So I judged I'd got to.lay

and eavesdrop. I had it before they was half-way down the stairs. the only place I see

to hide the bag was in the coffin. when we get down the river a hundred mile or two, I

could write back to Mary Jane, and she could dig him up again and get it" (133-135). If

Huck was lazy, he would have just sit by and let the King and Duke rip the girls off. But,

instead, he chose the hard work of getting the money to the girls. Because of Huck's hard

work throughout his adventure, he contradicts his beliefs that he is lazy, but this is not the

only contradiction within him.

Huck also thinks he his carefree, but his actions and feelings prove him wrong

again. When Huck and Jim are first starting their adventure together, the come upon a

sinking steam boat with a gang of murders aboard. Huck and Jim end up stranding the

murderers on the sinking ship: "Now was the first time that I had begun to worry about

the men-I reckon I hadn't had time to before. I began to think how dreadful it was, even

for murderers, to be in such a fix," (54). If Huck didn't care, he would have stranded the

murderers on the boat with no remorse or regret, but he did care, even if they were

murderers. Later, Huck couldn't bring himself to turn Jim in to some men he ran across,

and thought to himself: "s'pose you'd a done right and give Jim up; would you felt better

than what you do now? No, says I, I'd feel bad-I'd feel just the same way I do now,"

(69). Huck knew it would be the right thing to turn Jim in, but he couldn't, because he

cared about Jim and what happened to him. Then Jim and Huck get separated, and Huck

stays with the Grangerford family who are in the middle of a feud with another family. A

boy, Buck Grangerford, gets to know Huck, but is then killed by the feud and Huck finds

him. "I cried a little when I was covering up Buck's face, for he was mighty good to me,"

(87). Huck again proves that he cares about other people, and if they die, he feels

remorse, just like any other person who cares. Afterward, Huck and Jim meet up again,

and find two men who are running from a mob claiming they didn't do anything. "They

was pretty close to me then, and sung out and begged me to save their lives. `take to the

water and wade down to me and get in.,'" (90-91). If Huck was carefree, like he says,

he wouldn't have cared about the two men's trouble and wouldn't have let them join

Huck and Jim. But, Huck did care, and helped the men escape. Next the two men Huck

helped escape, the King and Duke, were trying to rob three girls out of their inheritance.

Huck thinks: "I says to myself, this is a girl that I'm letting that old reptle rob her of her

money!. Says I to myself, and this is another one that I'm letting him rob her of her

money!" (132). Huck realizes that he cares about these girls and he won't stand for them

getting ripped off. Following that incident, Huck gets separated from the King and Duke,

but learns that a town has found out about their fraudulent ways and goes to warn them.

When he arrives at the town he finds he is too late and that the King and Duke have

already been tarred and feathered. "Well, it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for

them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I couldn't ever feel any hardness against them

any more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human being can be awful cruel to

one another," (174). Subsequently, Huck met up with Tom Sawyer, a friend from before

Huck faked his death. They both try to free Jim from being captured in a shed and Tom

gets shot in the leg. "I told Tom I was agoing for a doctor. He raised considerable row

about it, but me and Jim stuck to it and wouldn't budge," (208). Huck cared enough for

Tom to risk getting caught stealing Jim just to make sure Tom was okay. If Huck hadn't

cared about Tom, they could've just left him where he got shot. By Huck caring about all

of these people throughout his adventure, even though some of them didn't care about

him, he contradicts his beliefs again, showing himself to be a much better person than he

thinks he is. This, however, is not the final way he contradicts himself, there is still one


Finally, Huck leads us to believe that he likes to be alone, when in fact he dislikes

it very much. At one time during Jim and Huck's journey, fog separates the two

travelers. "If you think it ain't dismal and lonesome out in the fog that way, by yourself,

in the night, you try it once-you'll see," (62). Huck flat out contradicts himself with

this. If he preferred to be alone, he would have liked being separated in the fog, as

opposed to being scared of it. Later, Huck and Jim pick up the King and Duke who join

them in their trip. Huck figured out that they weren't really Kings and Dukes: "If they

wanted us to call them Kings and Dukes, I hadn't no objections, `long as it would keep

peace in the family," (95). By Huck calling their odd group a family, he shows that he is

looking for companionship, and a real family. One like he's never had before. Before

he'd always been alone, so he just thought he liked it. This last contradiction furthers the

idea that Huck's beliefs were dead wrong.

Huck's beliefs about himself, whether it be that he is lazy, careless, or likes to be

alone, are mistaken in that he was shaped by people around him. He had not had time to

develop his own sense of who he really was. Over his voyage, he began to learn that he

wasn't lazy or carefree and that he did, in deed, like company. So, once Huck began to

live on his own, his actions and dialogue contradicted his beliefs about himself. And I

believe they did so for the better.

Source: Essay UK -

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