When narrating: Over the course of the novel he goes from arguing with individuals and
resisting opinions to accepting their opinions, while having his own and separating
himself from the people with those opinions. Huck is brash, bold, even though he is low
class and because he doesn’t have money, this attitude of being outspoken and defensive
is a defense mechanism and in order to not conform to the people that have more than
him, he separates himself and is comfortable and maybe even proud of where he comes
from and the class he is in.
When he is speaking to the reader, he is opinionated and not held down by society so he
speaks his mind. The reader is more of a friend to Huck and speaks directly to the reader
in everyday language. At the end of the book, he says “yours truly, Huck Finn” (262, ch.
43) showing that Huck affectionately addresses the reader and does not intend to be
abrasive but honest with his opinions, as a person is with their friends.
Huck is explaining what he and Jim are doing on the raft and stops in the middle of his
explanation to explain to the reader that a “tow-head is a sand-bar that has cotton-woods
on it as thick as harrow-teeth” (59, ch. 12). Huck is conscious of the reader and wants to
help the reader along in his story. He uses colloquialisms like “harrow-teeth” showing
that the reader is meant to be a friend of Huck’s, since most people would not normally
know what harrow-teeth are.
See #6 “you see”
Huck does not usually use literary devices but when he is describing Col. Grangerford, he
uses a metaphor, showing that he is developing his way of communicating throughout the
novel. Huck says he is “sunshine most days—I mean he made it seem like good weather.
When he turned into a cloudbank it was awful dark for a half a minute and that was
enough” (97, ch. 18)
Huck’s complete transformation comes when the King and Duke sell Jim for forty
dollars. Huck reasons that as long as Jim has to be a slave, it should be for Miss Watson
because he legally belongs to her. He says he was trying to do the “right thing and the
clean thing, and go and write to that nigger’s owner and tell where he was; but deep down
in me I knowed it was a lie” (192, ch. 31). He tries to objectify Jim by calling him “that
nigger” in order to make Jim seem more distant from Huck, but he knows he cannot bring
himself to conform. Society is telling him what to do (turn Jim in) and although Huck
would most likely be rewarded or at least washed clean from the situation, Huck cannot
morally allow himself hurt Jim that way, even at the expense of
his own well being.
Huck considers his actions sinful because he thinks he is keeping Miss Watson’s property
(Jim) from her. At this time, due to society’s view on slavery, Huck thinks he is going
against God and decides he would rather go to hell than turn Jim in. This is clearly the
turning point in Huck’s life and his morality is solidified in his decision to completely
reject society and God’s rules.