How did Huck Finn's dad die?

At the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is revealed that Huck Finn's dad died after being shot in the back.

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In chapter 9, Huck and Jim discover the naked body of a dead man inside a house that is floating down the river. The dead man is lying on the floor in a far corner of the house. At first, Huck doesn't realize that the man he sees is dead. He tries to speak to the man, but Jim tells him, "De man ain't asleep—he's dead."

Jim then takes a closer look and discovers that the man has "ben shot in de back" and has been dead "two er three days." He tells Huck not to look closely at the man's face because the sight is "too ghastly." We discover, later in the book, that there is really a quite different reason as to why Jim does not want Huck to look at the dead man's face.

It is only at the end of the novel that Huck discovers that the dead man was in fact his dad. Jim tells Huck that his dad is never going to return because the dead man they found in the house on the river "wuz him." Jim says that this is why he didn't allow Huck to look at the dead man's face. He didn't want Huck to realize that the dead man, who had been shot in the back and left to die naked on the floor, was his dad.

The murderer responsible for the death of Huck's dad is not revealed, and the author does not describe Huck's reaction to the revelation. The lack of any reaction is perhaps fitting, given that the relationship between Huck and his dad was loveless and abusive.

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