Huck's father is a scoundrel and an abusive parent whose actions and ideas produce a certain negative influence on his son. Nonetheless, some of his sordid actions are cause for Huck to recognize the results of Pa's wrongdoing and to reject such behavior, along with a few unchristian beliefs. In contrast to his "pap," the runaway slave named Jim demonstrates to Huck the worthiness of being good and charitable. Because Jim's positive influence over Huck contrasts so sharply with Huck's father, Huck reevaluates some of his beliefs.
The cruelty that Pap shows Huck is also contrasted with the kindness that the Widow Douglas extends to the boy. When, for instance, Pap surprises his son by being in his room one night because he has learned of Huck's fortune, Pap demands the money. Luckily for Huck, he anticipated his father's intentions sometime before this, so he rushed to Judge Thatcher, who arranged protection for Huck's money. Further, Pap derogates Huck for having learned to read; he orders Huck to "stop putting on frills" and trying to be better than him. Then, Pap threatens Huck with a beating if he sees him at the school. "I'll tan you good," he tells the boy. "First you know you'll get religion, too. I never see such a son" (Ch.5). Such threats make Huck want to attend school all the more: "I didn't want to go to school much, before, but I reckoned I'd go now to spite pap" (Ch.6).
There are some lessons that Pap has taught Huck which he retains. One of these pertains to stealing:
Pap always said it warn't no harm to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some time; but the widow said it warn't anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it (Ch.12).
Huck does steal when he is hungry or when he needs something. In another instance, Huck does not mind that the King and the Duke, two con men, take advantage of people with their various exploits. However, when these "rapscallions" dissemble as relatives of the Wilks family and scheme to steal an inheritance of $6,000 in property and gold from the nieces of a deceased uncle who had no will, Huck becomes morally outraged. He feels “ornery” and “low down” for not telling the nieces about the nefarious intentions of the king. Consequently, he decides to retrieve the money from the two swindlers no matter what happens. The pretty Mary Jane has influenced Huck in another way, as well. Having witnessed how kind she is to her to her slaves, Huck begins to question the concept of slavery, especially because he has grown to love Jim, who has acted like a real father toward Huck, advising Huck and providing him with genuine affection and devotion. Finally, Huck completely rejects his father's and his society's attitudes about slavery as he refuses to send his friend Jim back to Miss Watson.