What 5 quotes from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn show the theme of Huck vs. his conscience?

2 Answers

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Twain wrote, "a sound heart is a surer guide than an ill-trained conscience."

Ch 3 Miss Watson, a slave owner, tells Huck if he prays he will get anything, but he does not receive the fish hooks he prays for. When asked why, Miss Watson says he "was a fool...." I couldn't make it out no way." Huck is in moral conflict with received values.

Ch 8 After running away, Huck discovers Jim, helps him knowing it is wrong. "All right then, I'll just go to hell" he decides.

Ch 13 Huck and Jim board a wrecked steamboat for provisions finding two thieves tied to the deck. Although they are criminals, Huck says,"my conscience got to stirring," so he alerts the watchman. "I couldn't rest easy till I could see the ferryboat start."

Ch 16 Current separates Jim and Huck who calls in vain, but takes a "cat nap." A tearful Jim finds Huck who lies to cover up his negligence. Jim tells him only "trash" lies; "It was 15 minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger--but I done it."

Ch 23 When the Duke and King sell off Jim as a slave, Huck pretends, "It's a good job they got him." He wrestles with his conscience, "it would be...better for Jim to be a slave at home where his family was...," but he lies-"I was playing double"-that he will write Mrs. Watson. But, when he and Jim are together, he can not "harden me against him."

1 reply Hide Replies

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on


thiefs should be thieves.

Ch 23 ....It would be better for Jim to BE a slave.


mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

For exact quotes, you will need to use your book, but I can steer you to the right areas.

  • In chapter 15 at the end, Huck struggles to apologize to Jim for playing a prank on him.
  • In chapter 16, about 4 paragraphs in, Huck struggles with whether he should turn Jim in. (Read that entire chapter; there are several good quotes throughout it)
  • In chapter 31 Huck decides to write Miss Watson about Jim, and struggles mightily with that decision; there are several great quotes in that entire chapter

Those three areas should provide at elast 5 quotes for you.  I hope that helps!