Does Huck Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ever lie because he's scared? If so, when?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several places in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where Huck lies because he is scared for his own safety or the safety of Jim. One instance is when Huck gives Judge Thatcher the $6000.00 treasure he receives during The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Pap has unexpectedly shown up at the Widow Douglas’ home demanding money from Huck. Huck takes the money to Judge Thatcher to hopefully get rid of Pap. Huck won’t tell the judge why he is giving the money away (an omission of the truth, so to speak), but the judge figures it out and keeps the money “for consideration” by giving Huck $1.00.  Huck is so afraid of his abusive father that he lies and gives up his wealth to discourage Pap from harassing him.

An example of when Huck lies to save Jim is when Huck makes an attempt to go ashore in the skiff with the intentions of turning in Jim. Huck meets two slave hunters who want to board the raft to look for Jim, a runaway slave.  Huck acts elated that someone is finally going to help get the raft and his family to shore. Because of Huck’s enthusiasm, the slave hunters think Huck’s “family” must have smallpox. The slave hunters send some money over to Huck and quickly flee, afraid of contracting the disease. Huck’s love for Jim is shown when Huck fears for Jim and is pushed to make a moral decision in this episode. As readers, we know that Huck’s lie was the right thing to do, although Huck grapples with his decision.

In addition, Huck lies to the King and the Duke to save Jim when they ask him if Jim is a runaway slave. Huck lies and says he is an orphan, and Jim is a family slave. The fear of the King and Duke turning in Jim for the reward money, and thus losing his newfound friend, causes Huck to once again make up a “whopper” to get out of the situation.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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