Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn Quotes
So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter—and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:
Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. (31.21, 31.22)
Would you drive down the left side of the street? Absolutely not! (Unless you were in England, in which case—please drive on the left.) Not only is it illegal, it'd be dangerous. To Huck, helping Jim escape is like driving on the left. It might feel exciting for a while, but he knows he's doing something wrong and dangerous. It feels a lot better, at least temporarily, to follow the rules. Even if they're arbitrary lines painted on the ground.
And then think of ME! It would get all around that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I was ever to see anybody from that town again I'd be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame. That's just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he don't want to take no consequences of it. (31.19)
Huck knows there are consequences to his actions—like when you blow off studying to go see the midnight release of The Hunger Games, and then you fail your econ test the next day. Or when you help a slave escape and then everyone makes fun of you. You know. Consequences.
That night they had a big supper, and all them men and women was there, and I stood behind the king and the duke's chairs and waited on them, and the niggers waited on the rest. Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan alongside of her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chickens was—and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for to force out compliments; and the people all knowed everything was tiptop, and said so—said "How DO you get biscuits to brown so nice?" and "Where, for the land's sake, DID you get these amaz'n pickles?" and all that kind of humbug talky-talk, just the way people always does at a supper, you know. (26.3)
Huck is our little social observer here, and he knows what's up. There's a whole set of rules governing dinner: the hosts have to talk smack about their food, and the guests have to rave about how awesome it is. Admit it: you do this too.