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Although Huck is uneducated and young, he sometimes says very insightful things. At the same time, he often says things that demonstrate his immaturity. Twain introduces us to Huck’s often strangely endearing reasoning on the first page. After explaining about how Twain mostly told the truth, he goes on to explain his problem with the widow.
Huck does not understand the Widow’s interest in religion, because none of the men in the Bible are related to her.
Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it. (ch 1, p. 6)
Huck is interested in the Biblical stories at first, until he discovers that none of the men are still alive. Then he loses his interest. This demonstrates a real lack of maturity in Huck’s thinking. He is incapable of imagination and appreciating religion or story. He only cares about real life and the present moment.
Another example of Huck's immaturity comes in chapter 15 when he and Jim become separated from one another in a thick fog on the river. Huck took the canoe to find a place to tie up the raft, knowing the fog could be dangerous for the travelers on the fast-flowing river. He becomes separated from Jim when they come upon a small island--Huck's canoe went one way, and Jim and the raft went another. When Huck eventually spotted the raft further down the river, he noticed Jim asleep, so he decided to play a joke on him. He snuck onto the raft and slipped in close to Jim, then pretended to be waking up. He pretended the separation of the two was just a dream, making Jim interpret the meaning of the dream and doubt himself. Jim calls him out, though:
When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin’ for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no’ mo’ what become er me en de raf’. En when I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun’, de tears come, en I could a got down on my knees en kiss yo’ foot, I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin’ ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ‘em ashamed.
Jim scolds Huck, and that scolding makes Huck realize he was in the wrong. While Huck at times still treats this trip down the river as a lark, for Jim, it is a matter of life and death. Jim still values Huck's friendship more than Huck values Jim's. At the end of the chapter, Huck comments,
It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed his foot to get him to take it back. . . I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way.
At this point in the novel, Huck is learning what it means to look out for someone other than himself.
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