In "The Adventures of Huck Finn", what is Huck's motivation for traveling down the Mississippi?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 Huck believes that he needs to get away from his Pap so that Pap won't kill him. Just before Huck decides to leave, his Pap get so drunk that he chases Huck around their cabin with a knife calling Huck "The angel of death". Huck grabs his Pap's gun to protect himself but his Pap passes out in a drunken stupor before Huck has to shoot. The next day, he makes plans to leave. He fakes his own death and goes to hide on Jackson Island. There he accidently finds Jim who has run away from Miss Watson who was about to sell him away from his wife and family. The two outcasts join together to try to get Jim to a free state where Jim will be free to earn money to buy his wife and children back. The irony is that Pap is killed a few days after Huck escapes. His body floats by in a house that has been abandoned in a storm. Jim sees the body of Pap but doesn't tell Huck until the end of the novel. Jim doesn't want Huck leaving him alone. Of course, there is also irony in Jim's position because Miss Watson soon becomes ill and sets Jim free in her will just before she dies. So, both Huck and Jim have been running for reasons that no longer exist.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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