What type of friendship did The Widow Douglass and Miss Watson show to Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Widow Douglas and Miss Watson each try to be a friend to Huck in their own way, but the widow is more gentle and Miss Watson is more scolding.

Huck says that the Widow Douglas “took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me” (ch 1, p. 6).  Her sister Miss Watson is “a tolerable slim old maid” who tries to teach him the Bible and scolds him for misbehaving.

When Huck does something the sisters don’t like, they each have their own way of showing him their disapproval.

I GOT A good going-over in the morning from old Miss Watson on account of my clothes; but the widow she didn't scold, but only cleaned off the grease and clay, and looked so sorry that I thought I would behave awhile if I could. (Chapter 3, p. 12)

Ironically, Huck is more affected by the widow’s feeling sorry that he ruined his clothes than he is that Miss Watson yelled at him.  He tries to do the best he can for them, and they try to do the best they can for him.  Unfortunately, they are too far apart on the concepts of how a person should live his life to ever agree with each other.

Huck's guardians demonstrate opposite views of child-rearing, and different methods.  Huck tries to listen to both ladies, but neither one is actually successful in getting him to see her point of view.