Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Pap Quotes
here was a free nigger there from Ohio—a mulatter, most as white as a white man. He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat; and there ain't a man in that town that's got as fine clothes as what he had; and he had a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane—the awful- est old gray-headed nabob in the State. And what do you think? They said he was a p'fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything. And that ain't the wust. They said he could VOTE when he was at home. Well, that let me out. Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to? It was 'lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn't too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where they'd let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I'll never vote agin. (6.11)
Oh, Pap. Like that racist relative who shows up at every family gathering, he just digs himself into a really, really ugly hole. But is he an exception, or is he just saying what almost everyone in the book is thinking?
"Don't you give me none o' your lip," says he. "You've put on considerable many frills since I been away. I'll take you down a peg before I get done with you. You're educated, too, they say—can read and write. You think you're better'n your father, now, don't you, because he can't? I'LL take it out of you. Who told you you might meddle with such hifalut'n foolishness, hey?—who told you you could?" (5.6)
Think parents are supposed to want the best for their children? Think again. To Pap, children are supposed to be just as miserable, drunk, racist, and uneducated as their parents. Anything else would be "hifalut'n."
"Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it's like. Here's the law a-standing ready to take a man's son away from him—a man's own son, which he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising. Yes, just as that man has got that son raised at last, and ready to go to work and begin to do suthin' for HIM and give him a rest, the law up and goes for him. And they call THAT govment! (6.10)
Pap wants all of the rights of fatherhood (having a son to look after him in his old age) without any of the responsibilities (actually caring for and educating that son). But we really can't imagine that Pap went to too much anxiety and expense to raise Huck.