In Chapters 15-18 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, what are the differences between Huck and the hunters?  

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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When you say "the hunters," I am assuming you mean the two men looking for runaway slaves from "The Rattlesnake-skin Does Its Work:"  "Right then along comes a skiff with two men in it with guns, and they stopped and I stopped" (89).  The most obvious difference between Huck and these men is that the hunters are searching for runaways to return them to slavery while Huck is helping a slave become a free man.  However, the biggest difference between Huck and these two men is quick wit and intelligence.  To put the scene in context, one must understand that Huck had just been listening to Jim go on and on about freedom.  Huck (in one of the biggest displays of dramatic irony ever), thinks himself evil for helping Jim and vows to turn Jim in.  The "hunters" then appear.  Huck tries to follow through with his vow.  "I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but I warn't man enough--hadn't the spunk of a rabbit" (90).  Needless to say, Huck fools the hunters with his quick wit, . . . using a sort of reverse psychology to convince them that "the family" on board the raft has smallpox.  The hunters, who are simply looking for some runaway slaves, don't even begin to suspect Huck of pulling their legs.  They are far too worried about getting smallpox.  Thus, Huck saves Jim yet again. 

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