Jim is free, Tom's leg is healed, Huck still has his $6,000, and Aunt Sally has offered to adopt him. Talk about your Hollywood ending.
Well, not so fast. Settling down with Aunt Sally—as nice as she is—is about the last thing Huck wants to do. Instead, he decides to "light out" for the territories, the unsettled land west of the Mississippi (43). He may have had a moral breakthrough, but he's not about to settle down with a mortgage and a 401(k).
We're pretty convinced that this is Twain making Huck into a symbol for the American spirit—but it might also be his way of showing that someone like Huck, who is capable of making moral and ethical decision for himself—is never going to fit in with the boring old townsfolk who may be nice but certainly aren't good.
Admit it: wouldn't you have been a little disappointed if he had settled down to become some boring kid like Tom Sawyer?