Analysis of Lies in Huck Finn

1747 words 7 pages
Analysis of Lies in Huckleberry Finn

"That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth" (1). Those are among the first lines in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so it's obvious from the very beginning that the truth, or lack thereof, is a major theme in the book.

Huckleberry Finn is a liar throughout the whole novel but unlike other characters, his lies seem justified and moral to the reader because they are meant to protect himself and Jim and are not meant to hurt anybody.

Mark Twain shows four types of lies in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: vicious and self-serving lies, harmless lies, childish lies, and Huck's noble lies.

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Since the truth is 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" (74). 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 truth.

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?"(84). Jim asks Huck to 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"(86). This makes Huck feel terrible and after apologizing to Jim, he claims that he wouldn't have done it if he knew how it would make Jim feel.

When Huck finds out that the King and the Duke are

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