Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Rules and Order Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way: A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man's brother kills HIM; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the COUSINS chip in—and by and by everybody's killed off, and there ain't no more feud. But it's kind of slow, and takes a long time." (18.26)
Ready for another ridiculous, arbitrary set of rules? Buck's got one for you: the rules governing feuds. Only, in this case, the rules just leave you dead. We're pretty sure we'd rather follow the rules about sitting up straight at dinner.
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.
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.