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Huckleberry Finn Quotes and Analysis

Categories: Huck FinnQuote
“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be persecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”
This is a note from the author AKA Mark Twain.
The fact that he is warning us not to think about the story so much and analyze it obviously has the opposite effect and makes us analyze it. He signs off as a voice of authority, knowing that we won’t follow this message.


Also, it gets us thinking: is he serious? Would he really shoot us? No. There is a lot of acting in this book.

The Impostor
America at the time didn’t know who they were; what’s real and what’s fake? People tried to make something of USA.

What is great / okay about making the story in the perspective of Huck, a young boy?
Adults who say certain things may be judged for it and will be criticized for their thought or belief, but a child won’t.

He is just a child, he doesn’t know better, it’s okay. He might even ask questions that adult isn’t asking anymore.
Also, it is Mark Twain speaking through Huck. If Twain himself, an adult, were to put his thoughts about the cruelty of slavery out in the open, he would have had a very rough life, but since he is speaking through a character, it’s okay, because all it seems to the reader is that this is a character’s thoughts, not an actual adult’s.

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“You don’t know about me until…”
Huck is breaking the 4th wall by speaking directly to the reader.

“…everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; thing get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.”
Huck is speaking about Miss Watson cooking him dinner. Why keep the food separate? Mix it up!
I don’t know if this part we said in class or if it’s my own idea: the deeper meaning behind this is the big question in this book: why should black people and white people be separate? We are all people, just like it’s all food. We should mix together and we are equal!

“After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers….she let out that Moses has been dead a long time; so then I didn’t care no more about him, because I don’t take no stock in dead people.”
Huck speaking about Miss Watson reading to him about Moshe. Moshe was an orphan like Huck and someone saved both of them, but Huck doesn’t understand that.
IRONY: Huck doesn’t care about the dead, but Huck doesn’t even exist!

“…she was going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t try for it.”
Huck doesn’t want to be where civilized Miss Watson is, and good people are no fun.
MY OWN IDEA: Here, Huck talks about how he wasn’t going to try to go to heaven and he will settle with hell, and this is a foreshadow to his dilemma of whether or not to turn Jim in, and decides that it’s worth going to hell if it means Jim is free, just like it’s worth going to hell if he has a fun life and not have to be with Miss Watson for all of eternity.

“Why can’t a body take a club and ransom them as as soon as they get here?”
Ben Rogers says this to Jim as they and the other boys, including Huck and Jim, are planning on killing their families based on a story Tom saw in a book. Ben is asking why can’t they just kill them right away if they are eventually going to die anyway?

[in response to Tom saying to follow the books] “All right. I don’t mind; but I say it’s a fool way, anyhow. Say, do we kill the women, too?”
Ben Rogers says this to Jim as they and the other boys, including Huck and Jim, are planning on killing their families based on a story Tom saw in a book.
Tom follows the books; it’s doesn’t have to logical. Ben is making fun of the books.
Note: stories should be educational, and the pirate story is not.
MORAL ISSUE: What to do with the women? How can you try to be moral in a world that is immoral? How do you not kill women but you kill anyone else?

“Well…I think they are a pack of fatheads for not keeping the palace themselves ‘stead of fooling them away like that. And what’s more–if I was one of them I would see a man in Jericho before I would drop my business and come to him for the rubbing of an old tin lamp….[in response to Huck Finn, he goes on to say…] What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a church? All right, the; I would come, but I lay I’d make that man climb the highest tree there was in the country.”
Metaphor for slavery.
Jim says he would do whatever he could to get his freedom.

“Call this a govment!…Here’s the law a-standing ready to take a man’s son away from him — a man’s own son, which he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising…I’d leave the blamed country and never come a-near it ag’in.”
Huck is recounting Pap’s words one day when he’s drunk in the cabin. Pap thinks that he wons his son, like a slave! Pap threatens to leave America, but that wouldn’t affect America or the government in any way if he does. He is of no importance.
Ironic: Huck also leaves. Well, not America, but where is from.

“Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful! Why, look here. There was a free ****** there from Ohio–a mulatter, most as white as a white man. He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat; and there ain’t a man in that town that’s got as fine clothes as what he had…I’ll never vote again as long as I live.”
Huck is recounting Pap’s words one day when he’s drunk in the cabin. Mullater is a mulato, a person who is mixed race. This man had one black parent and one white parent, and back then, he was considered fully black. Pap is saying that this man, who should be a slave, looks like a white man on the outside, with his nice clothes and hat, but deep down inside, he’s just a dirty black slave.
This could relate to the theme of costumes in this book.
Pap says he won’t vote because they are letting this mulato vote. Pap has the right to vote, but he doesn’t appreciate it. He just takes away from America, while the ones who are actually building America are the slaves. White people think that they deserve a democracy, but that the black people don’t. Pap doesn’t think it is okay that they are letting a black person roman around freely.

What does Huck being fine on his own say about society?
That society is corrupt and it is best to leave it behind. The laws are not protecting him and he is better off in the wilderness.

“I said it looked to me like all the signs was about back luck.”
Huck is telling us what he told Jim, when they talked about signs of good and bad luck.
This is early on in their relationship.
Good things don’t happen to them.

“Ef you’s got hairy arms en a hairy breas’, it’s a sign day you’d a-gwyne to be rich. Well, dey’s some use in a sign like dat, ‘kase it’s so fur ahead. You see, maybe you’d got to be po’ a long time fust, en so you might git discourage’ en kill yo’sef ‘f you didn’ know by de sign dat you gwyne to be rich bymeby.”
Jim tells Huck early on in their relationship that good signs give you hope. It doesn’t happen right away, but it comes eventually.
This is also superstition.

“Yes; en I’s rich now, come to look at it. I owns myself, en I’d wuth eight hund’d dllars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn’ want no mo.”
When people are turned into money…how can Jim get the money he is worth? He is a person; how can he get the $800 that he is worth?
It means that someone can buy him for $800; they wouldn’t pay him his worth!

“Pap always said it warn’t no harm to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some time….concluded to drop crabapples and p’simmons… I was the glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples ain’t ever good, and the p’simmons wouldn’t be ripe for another two or three months yet.
Huck is talking about him and Jim stealing fruit from a farm. Huck is quoting his father, and twisting what he taught him. Stealing is wrong but they needed to do it. So how can he can do it in the right way? THEME: how can you try to be moral in an immoral situation? It’s like when they were going to kill everyone but the women in the game about the pirates. They use morality from people they learn from and do what they want.

“‘Get?’ I says; ‘why, they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them.'”
Huck is explaining to Jim what royalty is after reading a book to him about it. Jim has never heard of royalty before; there isn’t any in the USA. Everyone (especially Tom) treats Huck like he doesn’t know anything, but Jim knows even less. Finally, someone who knows less than Huck! The way that Huck is speaking to Jim and the way that he thinks he knows more than him reflects the way that Tom treats Huck.

“Bekase why: would a wise man want to live in de mids’ er sich a blim-blammin’ all the time? No–‘deed he would’t..” [goes to to say that Shlomo HaMelech wasn’t wise.]
Huck replies: “Well, but he was the wisest man, anyway; because the widow she told me so, her own self.”

“En what use is a half a chile? I wouldn’ give a dern for a million un um.”
Jim doesn’t understand why Shlomo HaMelech would put all of his wives in the same room and want to be in the middle of such chaos all the time.
THEMES: Why is this happening? + Authority vs. common sense + division of America is worthless
Jim asks what good half a child is. Half is nothing. A dollar bill split it half is worthless. America split in half is nothing.

“En mine you, de real pint is down furder–it’s down deeper. It lays in de way [King] Sollermun was raised. You take a man dat’s got on’y one or two chillen; is dat man gwyne to be wasteful o’ chillen? No, he ain’t; he can’t ‘ford it. He know how to calue ’em. But you take a man dat’s got ’bout five million chillen runnin’ roun’ de house, en it’s diffunt. He as soon chop a chile in two as a cat. Day’s plenty mo’.”
Jim knows that there is something deeper to King Shlomo’s logic: it is in the way he was raised. Jim is stating that if Shlomo knew just how precious it is to have even one or two children, he would never chop one in half, but Shlomo has to many, that it doesn’t make much of a difference to him. He is the way that he is because of how he was raised.
THEME: Huck breaks free of the way he was raised.
Note: Jim may not have an education, but he has thought about this deeply. He is capable of having great and deep thoughts.

“Is a Frenchman a man?….Why doan’ he talk like a man? You answer me dat!” “…You can’t learn a ****** to argue. So I quit.”
Huck is trying to explain Jim that there are other languages in the would besides English, but Jim doesn’t understand because he hasn’t ever met someone who speaks a different language. Jim feels that everyone should be treated equally. Huck gets frustrated and sees that there is no point of arguing with Jim over this. It’s like Tom with Huck.

“..they’ll think I’ve been killed, and floated down the river…”
Huck is talking to Jim after he runs away from the Grangerford home and the two friends are reunited.
THEME: This is a rebirth for Huck.

“You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”
Huck is talking about how he feels on the raft after running away from the Grangerfords and he is reunited with Jim. Huck feels cramped in a huge house, but free in a tiny raft in the middle of nowhere. He isn’t talking about literal space. Elaborate on the raft: far from civilization, safe haven, calm place that transports them to chaos…it is the one place where Jim and Huck are always equal.

“Jim he allowed [stars] was made, but I allowed they happened…”
Jim and Huck are discussing one night about their theories about things in the world. This is part of their conversation about stars. For Huck, everything just comes to him so easily. He just lets himself fall into things. But Jim has to work hard for what he wants; things do not just happen to him.

What does the money in the casket mean for Huck?
THEME: It’s a rebirth for him.

“…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 beings can be awful and cruel to one another.”
Maybe that is th eproblem witht he world’ we’re not good to each other. He says royalty is silly, but he doesn’t see why until [ask]. Huck feels bad for getting them in trouble, but at the same time, he is happy that justice was served to them. Huck says they are still people but it still doesn’t seem right.
Huck feels bad about them dying. How can people so cruel to one another?

Write about Tom and Huck’s reunion.
It is funny that the family thinks that Huck is Tom, because he has pretty much changed to an “anti-Tom.” Parts of Huck want to be like Tom, but in the end, he is Huck.
It is like Huck has been away at summer camp and comes home and everything is back to normal: Tom still treats Huck the same way he always has.

Well, one thing was dead sure, and that was that Tom Sawyer was in earnest, and was actuly going to help steal that ****** out of slavery. That was the thing that was too many for me. Here was a boy that was respectable and well brung up; and had a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; and he was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling, than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and his family a shame, before everybody. I COULDN’T understand it no way at all. It was outrageous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell him so; and so be his true friend, and let him quit the thing right where he was and save himself. And I DID start to tell him; but he shut me up, and says:
“Don’t you reckon I know what I’m about? Don’t I generally know what I’m about?”
“Yes.”
“Didn’t I say I was going to help steal the n*****?”
Huck thinks Huck only had these thoughts because he is not smart and doesn’t know any better.
It’s an adventure for Tom because he knows that Jim is free.
Huck’s got it all wrong.
It’s not that Tom is truly helping out of the kindness of his heart; he is helpign ebcause to him, it is an adventure, and since Jim is free, he won’t get in trouble.

“…to the left of his bed; why, all you got to do is lift up the bedstead and slip off the chain.”
THEME: Metafiction. Tom has read this in a book and is complicated everything because thinks that good plans require complication. He mainly just cares about adventure.

“Jim…wouldn’t understand the reasons for it, and how it’s the custom in Europe…”
Tom just wants to embellish his story and make it even better.

“Huck, you don’t ever seem to want to do anything that’s regular, you want to be starting something fresh all the time.”
Huck likes the simple way. Our question to Tom is: If you’re about Jim escaping, why would you leave clues behind? Because he is doing it for the adventure.
THEME: Metafiction. Twain is making fun of books, but also tells us to listen to them.

“Jim, he ain’t had no experience, and so he don’t care what kind of a–“
Jim is not part of these stories; he won’t know the ropes. He didn’t read the books.

“Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if you’ll take my advice, you’ll let me borrow a sheet off of the clothesline.”
Huck is still listening to Tom here, but at least he is fighting back a little more.

“When I start in to steal a n*****, or a watermelon, or a Sunday-school book…
…because right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”
Said by Huck after Tom actually has a kind of normal idea about saving Jim; using case-knives instead of picks. Book + fruit + black person = property. They are all the same, stealing is fine (ask).
Tom knows better and he is going to do right this time. Now it has become more to Tom than just an adventure.

“So if we don’t give them notice there won’t be nobody not nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our hard work and trouble this escape’ll go off perfectly flat; won’t amount to nothing–won’t be nothing to it.”
Said by Jim. It is a boring story to read if they escape easily and that’s all. If they get away clearly, it’s boring. The complications will be for nothing. Jim wants to leave clues.

“All right, then, I’ll do it; but I could carry it just as handy in my own togs.”
Now Huck is saying that COSTUMES (theme) are silly.

“Well, then is the way it look to me, Huck. If it was him day was being set free, and one of the boys were to get shot, would he say, ‘Go on and save me, nemmine ’bout a doctor for to save this one?’ Is that like Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he say that? YOu bet he wouldn’t! Well, then, is Jim going to say it? No, sir–I don’t budge a step out in this place ‘dout a doctor, not if it’s forty year!”
(I took out some dilalect punctuation and grammar because it was way faster to type this speech that way!)
I Tom were a free slave and Jim got hurt, he would not run away; he would help him. So Jim would help Tom. Jim sees the best in peopel and takes care of Tom, not just Huck. He really cares.

“I knowed he was white inside…”
Huck about Jim after Jim said he would help Tom, like Tom would help Jim. This is a little boy’s version of a compliment, because only white people were seen as the good people back then, and even though Jim’s exterior may look bad, his heart is very kind and white.

What is so heroic about Jim going to find a doctor for Tom?
Jim doesn’t know that he is free, and he still decides to go out and find Tom a doctor. He is the most heroic of all, unlike Tom, who made up the whole hero story. He is the least heroic of the three.

Did the white people truly free the black people?
There should have never been slavery. We didn’t free them; they freed themselves.

Despite all of their differences, where is the one place that Jim and Huck are always equal?
On the raft.

“I lay I MAKE you mine!” (quote the whole scene)
Jim is recounting to Huck the time that he beat his daughter, Elizabeth, for not following his order to shut the door. He didn’t realize that she had scarlet fever, and that it made her deaf. The way Jim spoke to her, especially this time, sounds very much like how an owner would speak to his or her slave.
Jim is a father. Compare this to Huck’s dad. At least Jim feels bad; you feel his humanity. He tired to follow the system that he knew and saw that it was wrong.
Jim may not be educated, but it does not make him stupid. He is smart and he has feelings. He has fatherly feelings for Huck and now we really see how much he cares. He has a moral compass.

What type of figure is Jim to Huck?
He has fatherly feelings for Huck and now we really see how much he cares. He has a moral compass. He takes way more watches and he makes him food and calls him ‘honey.’ He puts Huck and eventually Tom before himself.
THEME: {breaking free from} stereotypes.
The stereotype is that the black people don’t care at all, but Jim is over caring.

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Huckleberry Finn Quotes and Analysis. (2018, Jan 09). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/huckleberry-finn-quotes-and-analysis-essay

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