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Themes

Huck takes friendship so seriously that he's willing to swear blood oaths on it. Worse, he's willing to risk eternal damnation—because that's what he thinks awaits him for helping Jim escape. But, once he realizes that Jim is his friend, he can't do anything else. Huck values loyalty more than anything else, so he sticks with Jim to the end. (Now that's a status you can like.) But we have to ask: if Huckleberry Finn values friendship so highly, why does Huck ditch everyone and everything he knows at the end?

Questions About Friendship

  1. There are lot of different kinds of camaraderie going on here, and a lot of different friendships. Huck, for instance, is close both to Jim and to Tom. Are those different kinds of friendships, and if yes, how so?
  2. Which characters recognize the friendship between Huck and Jim, and which don't? How can you tell? Is it seen as somehow less genuine than a friendship between Huck and Tom?
  3. Does the duke-king relationship indicate that there's such a thing as a bad friendship? A friendship that seems to make both people worse off than before?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The self-serving friendship acts as a foil to the selfless friendship between Huck and Jim.

Huck and Jim's friendship isn't actually a real friendship; it's always affected by Jim's race.

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