Illustration of a man on a dock facing the water

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

Start Free Trial

What are some important quotes from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One very important quote (separated by a paragraph) comes right on the first page of the book. Huck Finn has become wealthy because of his adventures with Tom Sawyer in the previous book, and so he is taken in by the Widow Douglas as her son; she attempts to civilize him, and he finds it so restrictive that he runs away again. Tom convinces him to return because of a "band of robbers" (really just a group of boys playing) that requires their members to be "respectable."

I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied.
[...]
She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn't do nothing but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up.
(Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, gutenberg.org)

Here, Huck's character is defined very explicitly: he is a "free soul" and doesn't like to be confined either to everyday clothing or to the rules and restrictions of civilization. However, he is young and can't be trusted by society to make his own decisions, and so if he wants to live there, he must abide; even the clothing makes him feel "cramped up," because he is used to loose rags for comfort, not modesty. This is part of the reason that Huck eventually just goes off on his own, escaping the restrictions of society in order to make his own life and his own destiny.

There are other quotes in the links below, and the novel is full of meaningful quotes, phrases, aphorisms, and time-appropriate language.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What  are some quotes that Tom uses in "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"?

In the beginning of the book, Tom starts a gang, saying, "Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer's Gang, Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood." Huck's participation in this gang is symbolic of his childhood and his interest in playing games like this. At the end of the novel, Tom appears again, this time wanting to play a more dangerous game, a game that risks Jim's life. When the Phelps' have Jim locked up, Tom and Huck go to get him out. However, Tom is dissatisfied with the ease in which they could free him, saying, "Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and awkward as it can be. And so it makes it rotten difficult to get up a difficult plan...Why, drat it, Huck, its the stupidest arrangement I ever see. You got to invent ALL the difficulties...Anyhow, there's one more thing -- there's more honor in getting him out through a lot of difficulties and dangers, where there warn't one of them furnished to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish them, and you had to contrive them all out of your own head." Huck goes along with this game, but doesn't really approve of the immaturity and complicated nature of it, he'd rather just get the job done. But since Tom is of a higher social class, and a white boy, both Jim and Huck follow Tom's leadership.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on