The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Questions and Answers
by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn book cover
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How does Huck know the King and the Duke are frauds in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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Huck knows the two men are frauds because they are running away, but he doesn’t want to make trouble so he goes along with it.

Huck knows a king or a duke would be gaudily dressed and full of style. The king and the duke he meets are nothing like that. They are miscreants trying to get away with something. Huck doesn’t mind con artists, though, because he wants to help anyone who is in trouble.

It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble (Chapter 19).

The duke and the king are definitely trouble. These con artists put on performances to make money. Huck and Jim participate, but they are not happy about defrauding people. Both have more of a conscience than the king and the duke.

Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-five dollars in that three nights. I never see money hauled in by the wagon-load like that before. By and by, when they was asleep and snoring, Jim says: Don't it s'prise you de way dem kings carries on, Huck?" (Chapter 23)

Huck and Jim were right to worry. The two rapscallions decide to sell Jim, so Huck impersonates Tom Sawyer to try to get him back. During this adventure, Tom shows up, helps, and reveals that Jim has actually been freed. Tom only helps Huck try to rescue Jim as a game. Tom Sawyer would never rescue a runaway slave because he considers doing so to be wrong. That is where he and Huck differ.

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