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What is chapters' XXIV-XXVII thematic role of clothes in The Adventures of Huckleberry...

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rspc5 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM via web

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What is chapters' XXIV-XXVII thematic role of clothes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

In chapters XXIV-XXVII of Huck Finn, clothes can play a symbolic or thematic role in the novel. Huck even says that he "never knowed how clothes could change a body before."Dicuss the thematic role of clothes in these chapters.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 17, 2012 at 7:29 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 24-27 of Huck Finn, Huck and Jim are staunchly under the control of the King and the Duke.  Everyone is in a disguise.  Clothes are symbols of social class, and they are used for deceit by the King and the Duke.

Deceit and disguise are regular issues with Huck.  Huck realizes that the clothes may make the man, but the man is still the same man no matter how he’s dressed.  People may perceive the King and the Duke as fine upstanding citizens, but they are con artists.

Why, before, he looked like the orneriest old rip that ever was; but now, when he'd take off his new white beaver and make a bow and do a smile, he looked that grand and good and pious that you'd say he had walked right out of the ark, and maybe was old Leviticus himself. (ch 24, enotes pdf, p. 104)

 

Huck realizes that the men he is with are bad, but he does not see a way out of the situation.  It hurts his conscience.

 But I knowed better. I had it out of there before they was half-way downstairs. I groped along up to my cubby, and hid it there till I could get a chance to do better. I judged I better hide it outside of the house somewheres, because if they missed it they would give the house a good ransacking: I knowed that very well. (ch 26, p. 119)

Huck's main struggle in the book is with his conscience, the set of morals with which he has been raised (enotes themes).

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