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Abalysis of Lies in Huckleberry Finn

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.

An example of lying is presented right at the beginning. After Tom and Huck play a joke on him, Jim lies to all the other slaves about how his hat got taken of his head and put on a tree limb above him while he was sleeping. He tells an incredible yarn about some kind of spirits visiting him, gaining him an almost-celebrity status among the slaves. Some may argue that this is a self-serving lie. Although it is harmless to others, it certainly isn’t a noble lie. Another set of harmless, somewhat clever, lies Jim tells are of his famous hairball. He claims it can predict the future and only he can tell what it’s saying. Not only that, but this hairball doesn’t work unless Jim gets paid first.

The king of childish lies would definitely be Tom Sawyer. Through Tom’s ridiculous lies, Mark Twain makes the reader begin to hate this impractical, unrealistic, unoriginal adolescent. His immature lies are to gain a sense of adventure like in his books and they occasionally hurt people. Tom tricks Huck into coming with him to see the caravan of “A-rabs and Spaniards.” Huck doesn’t want to go until he learns there will be elephants there too. They go, and of course, nobody is there but young, Sunday-schoolers. Huck is disappointed and says, “So then I judged that all that stuff was only just one of Tom Sawyer’s lies” (14). Tom’s major lying, though, doesn’t start until chapter 33 and doesn’t end until the last part of the book. When...

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Category:   Huckleberry Finn

Length:   7 pages (1,678 words)

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