The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essential Quotes by Theme: Moral Law vs. Civil Law

Mark Twain

Essential Quotes by Theme: Moral Law vs. Civil Law

Essential Passage 1: Chapter 8

“How do you come to be here, Jim, and how'd you get here?”
He looked pretty uneasy, and didn't say nothing for a minute. Then he says:
“Maybe I better not tell.”
“Why, Jim?”
“Well, dey's reasons. But you wouldn' tell on me ef I 'uz to tell you, would you, Huck?”
“Blamed if I would, Jim.”
“Well, I b'lieve you, Huck. I—I run off.”
“But mind, you said you wouldn' tell—you know you said you wouldn' tell, Huck.”
“Well, I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. Honest injun, I will. People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don't make no difference. I ain't a-going to tell, and I ain't a-going back there, anyways. So, now, le's know all about it.”


Huck has escaped his father by going to Jackson Island. After a few days, Huck notices signs of some other inhabitants on the island. Frightened that it might be his father, he hides for a few hours and then goes in search of who it might be. He comes across a figure sleeping by a fire and discovers it is Jim, Miss Watson’s slave. The two join forces and prepare a meal. Huck explains to Jim his deception in order to escape. He then asks Jim how it is that he is alone on the island. Jim confesses that he has run away, which had been a crime in the slave states prior to the Civil War. He begs Huck not to turn him in. Huck has promised he would not and he intends to stick by it. This promise is problematic because Huck can be held liable for not...

(The entire section is 1806 words.)