Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
At first I hated the school, but by and by I got so I could stand it. Whenever I got uncommon tired I played hookey, and the hiding I got next day done me good and cheered me up. So the longer I went to school the easier it got to be. I was getting sort of used to the widow's ways, too, and they warn't so raspy on me. Living in a house and sleeping in a bed pulled on me pretty tight mostly, but before the cold weather I used to slide out and sleep in the woods sometimes, and so that was a rest to me. I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones, too, a little bit. The widow said I was coming along slow but sure, and doing very satisfactory. She said she warn't ashamed of me. (4.2)
Huck may be more comfortable sleeping in the woods, but he's starting to think that this civilization thing isn't so bad. And what's up with liking the "hiding" ("beating") that he gets for playing hookey? Why does being punished cheer him up?
It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study. Two months or more run along, and my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didn't see how I'd ever got to like it so well at the widow's, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed and get up regular, and be forever bothering over a book, and have old Miss Watson pecking at you all the time. I didn't want to go back no more. I had stopped cussing, because the widow didn't like it; but now I took to it again because pap hadn't no objections. It was pretty good times up in the woods there, take it all around. (6.4)
Aside from the kidnapping, being down at Pap's isn't so bad. But is this nature? Is this the clean, gentle, sort of spooky woods, or is this just a kind of perverted civilization, like pigs living in their filth in a pigpen?
I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I was asleep. When I woke up I didn't know where I was for a minute. I set up and looked around, a little scared. Then I remembered. The river looked miles and miles across. The moon was so bright I could a counted the drift logs that went a-slipping along, black and still, hundreds of yards out from shore. Everything was dead quiet, and it looked late, and SMELT late. You know what I mean—I don't know the words to put it in. (6.22)
Yeah, we don't either. But Huck does. He really gets the natural world; he understands its rhythms, and he can even tell the time by how it smells. (We'd be lost without our watches.)