Friendship in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Examples & Quotes

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  • 0:00 Fast Friends
  • 0:33 Friendship Blossoms
  • 1:47 A Decision To Make
  • 2:34 Friendships Extended
  • 3:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Nagelsen

Susan has directed the writing program in undergraduate colleges, taught in the writing and English departments, and criminal justice departments.

Friendship is a street that must go both ways, and in 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn', we see friendships that grow with each passing day. We will look at friendship and the costs of upholding the bonds between friends.

Fast Friends

Often the most unlikely pair become friends, and this is definitely the case in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Tom and Huck become friends because Huck longs for the freedom that Tom has, so he joins Tom's gang, but soon realizes that the tales of adventure Tom brags about are exaggerated, and Huck leaves the gang. When he runs away from his father and hooks up with Jim, the runaway slave, he finds the true friendship he has been seeking.

Friendship Blossoms

We are introduced to the theme of friendship when we see Huck and Jim interacting with each other. Like many relationships, theirs evolved and changed over time, a result of their shared experiences. We see the budding friendship when Huck says,

'Jim, this is niceā€¦I wouldn't want to be nowhere else but here.'

Huck is realizing just how much he enjoys spending time with Jim, even the act of eating together is comfortable and relaxed. There is a feeling of security in the comfort level they have achieved.

As with all friendships, Huck and Jim's friendship is built one encounter at a time. We see the friendship growing stronger with each adventure. In the meeting with Duke and the King, Huck begins to realize that everyone he has ever met along his way is a hustler, cheat, or con man, and the Duke and the King are no exception. He comes to understand that Jim is the most honest adult he has ever known. Huck sees that their friendship grows with each passing day. Jim says:

'Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman.'

Huck realizes in that moment just how much they mean to each other.

A Decision to Make

There is that moment in the novel when Huck struggles with whether or not to turn Jim in to the authorities. He says:

'It was the, 'right thing' to do because Jim was a run-away slave.'

But friendship trumps 'right,' and we see it happening for Huck when he says:

'All right then, I'll go to hell'...and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming.'

Huck has come to the realization that their friendship and all they have been through together is worth more than the 'right' thing to do. He believes that Jim deserves more than that because he has recognized that he is human, which allowed the friendship to bloom. He reaches the decision that whatever happens, it will be worth it if it saves Jim.

Friendships Extended

We are witness to the friendship between Huck and Tom, and we see the friendship Jim extends to both Tom and Huck. When Tom is shot in the leg, Jim decides to stay by him, even though it might mean he could lose his freedom. He tells Huck:

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