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They all asked me questions, and I told them how pap and me and all the family was living on a little farm down at the bottom of Arkansaw, and my sister Mary Ann run off and got married and never was heard of no more, and Bill went to hunt them and he warn't heard of no more, and Tom and Mort died, and then there warn't nobody but just me and pap left, and he was just trimmed down to nothing, on account of his troubles; so when he died I took what there was left, because the farm didn't belong to us, and started up the river, deck passage, and fell overboard; and that was how I come to be here. So they said I could have a home there as long as I wanted it. (17.47)
This is one of Huck's incredibly elaborate fake family stories. Do you think he'd actually like to have a family like this? Or is it just a convenient fiction to get him out of a tight spot?
She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped me by both hands and shook and shook; and the tears come in her eyes, and run down over; and she couldn't seem to hug and shake enough, and kept saying, "You don't look as much like your mother as I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don't care for that, I'm so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it does seem like I could eat you up! Children, it's your cousin Tom!—tell him howdy." (32.10)
Aunt Sally is so excited to see a relative that she completely ignores the fact that Huck looks nothing like her family. This is one of the good things about the South—but we can't help remembering that the same people hardly think twice about separating a black family.
When we got home Aunt Sally was that glad to see me she laughed and cried both, and hugged me, and give me one of them lickings of hern that don't amount to shucks, and said she'd serve Sid the same when he come. (41.21)
Let's get this straight: Pap's beating are bad, obviously. But "lickings" can also be a way to show love? Let's just chalk this up to "things change."