How Do Huck And Jim Dress On The Raft

How do Huck and Jim dress on the raft? What do their clothes convey about the theme of civilization versus nature?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jim and Huck make several costume changes as they head down river in Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. When Huck returns to Jackson's Island to warn Jim about his imminent capture, Huck is still wearing the dress in which he was pretending to be a girl. Jim is dressed in the same ragged clothes in which he escaped. After picking up the duke and dauphin, the pair dress Jim in "King Lear's outfit--it was a long curtain-calico gown and a white horse-hair wig and whiskers." On Jim, they place a shingle which reads "Sick Arab--but harmless when not out of his head." This costume allows Jim to be untied and free to move around a bit while the others visit the towns. 

The king and dauphin buy new clothes for Huck at one stop so that he will appear properly garbed to be travelling with royalty. Although both Huck and Jim would prefer to be in their regular yet ragged clothing, they both dress to fit their characters. Jim's outfit prevents him from being taken away as a runaway slave, and Huck (who hates formal clothing) realizes that as the valet of the British Wilks brothers, he must also dress the part. It is just a piece of the puzzle the two play in the charade concocted by the duke and dauphin. The clothes are a necessary ploy to fool the townspeople along the way--and assure their survival.

Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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