Which living situation or family does Huck like best and where does he feel most a part of a family and why in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Huck Finn feels most comfortable and loved with Jim on the raft; therefore, Jim is more like family to him than anyone else.

Unlike all his other living situations, Huck feels both physically and emotionally protected by Jim. In addition, Jim uses terms of endearment for Huck, calling Huck "honey," and he cries with elation when Huck returns to him after he thought Huck was lost or possibly dead.

After Huck runs away and discovers Jim, they travel together. In Chapter 9, they explore an island near the cavern where they have been hiding after running way. One night, a frame house floats past them, and the two paddle out to it, thinking it may have something they can use. Inside, they discover a dead man who has been shot in the back; Jim quickly covers the man's head because he realizes he is Huck's father, and he does not want to traumatize the boy.

When Jim and Huck are separated in Chapter 15 after Huck is unable to tie up the raft when he lands on shore, he is worried and tries to find Jim. Huck eventually becomes exhausted, however, and falls asleep. When he awakens, Huck chases after "specks" in a canoe until he finally discovers the raft. This raft has been somewhat damaged and Jim has his head down between his knees as he sleeps with his one arm hanging over the steering oar. Unable to resist playing a trick on Jim, Huck makes him think he has merely dreamed that Huck left the raft. 

Finally, when Huck points to the debris on the raft and the broken oar, Jim realizes he has been tricked and is hurt by Huck's deception. Much like a father, he gives expression to his love for the boy first, but then reprimands him.

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.

Jim then scolds Huck for deceiving someone who cares about him:

...how you could make a fool uv old Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat put dirt on de head er day fren's en makes 'em ashamed.

After experiencing the violence of the feuding Grangerfords and Shepherdsons in Chapter 18, Huck is relieved to be back on the raft with Jim:

I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.

The hypocrisy of the King and the Duke and the self-righteousness of Dr. Robinson, who walks away from the Wilkinson girls after they refuse to listen to him about the two frauds, add to Huck's moral confusion. This confusion is only allayed when Huck is with Jim, whose honesty and openness has a profound effect on him.

After the King steals Jim and sells him, Huck becomes disgusted with society. Although he writes to Miss Watson informing her of Jim's capture, he tears up the letter. In doing so, he ends his moral dilemma over "stealing" her slave from her by deciding, "All right, then, I'll go to hell." Moreover, he decides Jim has all the qualities of a true and decent human being; further, he cannot deny the feelings he has for Jim. This causes Huck to follow his heart and act on behalf of Jim, who has been both a father-figure and a friend.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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