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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, according to the last two sentences of the book,...

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katm2 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2010 at 8:48 AM via web

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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, according to the last two sentences of the book, what is Huck planning to do?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 19, 2010 at 9:07 AM (Answer #1)

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Great question! The story ends at a kind of strange place because the last two sentences that you indicated clearly suggest that there is action to come. Let us examine them:

But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.

Huck clearly says that he is thinking of running away again to escape the painful process of being "sivilized." Let us remember that Huck's escape down the river with Jim is essentially an escape from civilization. Huck has seen civilization in its many different forms and found it wanting.

By ending the story with Huck talking about civilization and his desire to avoid it, Twain seems to indicate that this novel is primarily about a boy's desire to find his place in the world, even if his place is not a part of the world. Huck is among the first of many protagonists in American literature who stand against society. By the end of the novel, Twain has explored the moral, ethical and human development of Huck, and he now urges readers to examine their own lives and beliefs through the device of showing Huck's decision to "light out" and escape civilization.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM (Answer #2)

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According to the last two sentences of the book, Huck Finn is planning to "light out for the Territory."  What this means is that he is going to run off to some part of the United States that is still just a territory -- that means that it has not yet been organized into a state.

The point here is that Huck wants to get away from the really civilized parts of the country.  We have seen throughout the whole book that he has a very different set of values than society as a whole has.  He dislikes society's values and so he does not want to be stuck getting "civilized" again.  Here are the last two sentences -- you can see what I'm saying from them

But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.

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yaday | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:58 PM (Answer #3)

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In regards to the quote, Huck is referring to the Indian Territory out west.   This Indian Territory is described as being “all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Missouri and Louisiana, or the territory of Arkansas…"(Wikipedia). The novel takes place between 1835 and 1845, and the Indian Intercourse was established in 1834.  On a side note, in the sequel, Huck mentions to Tom that the Indians act nothing like what Tom described them to be.   After being asked where he  learned such information, Tom replies he learned the lifestyle of the Indians through reading James Fenimore Cooper novels.

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