The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the main character finds himself living in a
society that does not suit him. Everywhere he looks there are people who value
things that he sees as meaningless. Huck Finn feels trapped and begins his
journey down the river in an effort to find someone or some place that will
bring him happiness. Almost immediatly he finds this person in the form a run
away slave. In this story, Huck and Jim are against the entire world, and every
person they come in contact with has the potential to destroy their plans of
happiness and freedom. Under these circumstances Huck is forced to tell many
lies, but the only one he regrets is the one that he tells Jim. The biggest and
most harmful lie Huck tells is when he fakes his own murder in his fathers
shack. He goes through a great deal of trouble to make sure that people believe
that he is dead, and it is not until the end of the novel that it becomes known
to the people of his home town that he is actually alive. He had been a likable
young boy, and people in the town had thought highly of him. This is evident
from his relationship with adults like the widow and the judge. Jim even tells
him ÒIÕuz powerful sorry youÕs killed, Huck, but I ainÕt
no mo, nowÓ. (1292) Based on HuckÕs consistent concern for others,
it is likely that he would have written home to inform them that he was still
alive if it had not been for his situation with Jim. However, he does not want
to risk doing anything that might get Jim captured, so he writes no letter. Huck
finds himself working against the world. He is not an immature boy that tells
lies just for the sake of doing so, but rather he tells them in order to protect
himself and also Jim. In the instance where he dresses up like a girl and speaks
with the farmerÕs wife in an effort to find out what is being said about
their situation, the information that he gets ultimately saves them from the
capture of a building search party. Even though he is caught in the first lie
and it is discovered that he is actually a young boy rather than a girl, Huck
manages to convince the woman that he simply a run away. He quickly creates a
new lie and better lie, and she has no idea about his true identity. In this
instance of lies that Huck tells there is no victim. Huck learns crucial
information that he would have never gotten through honesty, and with this
information he is able to continue on his journey with Jim. Another one of
Huck’s lies is one that he tells to the watchman on the on the steam ship. He
knows that this man is the only person who can help the group of murders that
were soon going to drown in the river. Under the circumstances, Huck could not
tell the man the truth because he had stolen their boat to save JimÕs and
his own life, Jim would have been danger of being captured, and most lily the
watchman would have not bothered to go save a band of murders. Since the truth
was not an option, Huck creates an elaborate story of women in distress, and
reward money. After all is done, in reflection on his actions Huck says ÒI
was feeling ruther comfortable on accounts of taking all of the trouble for that
gang, for not many would a done it.Ó(1311) He clearly believes here that
he has done a good thing in telling that lie. He knows that he saved these menÕs
lives, and he would not have been able to do so with the truth. The one lie that
Huck clearly regrets telling is the one that he tells to Jim. After their
accidental separation, Huck returns to the raft and acts as though he hasnÕt
been gone. Huck goes on to claim that Jim imaged the entire thing. In response
to JimÕs delight in seeing Huck alive and well Huck says, ÒWhat is
the matter with you Jim? You been a drinking?Ó(1316) Jim asks Huck to look
him in the eye and say that he had not been gone anywhere, and Huck does as he
asks. Jim soon realizes that Huck is not telling him the truth. Jim says to Huck
Òen trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey frenÕs
en makes Ôem ashamed.Ó(1318) This makes Huck feel terrible and after
apologizing to Jim he claims that he would have never had done it if he had
known how it would have made him feel. The above are not the only lies that Huck
tells in this story. He is actually quite good at telling lies and he continues
to tell them up unitl the end of the story, but what the majority of Huck’s lies
have in common is that they protect both him and Jim from the society of
southerners that he has turned his back on. Huck chooses to follow what he feels
in his heart rather that what he has been taught by those around him. The lies
he tells are told so that he can continue in his search for happiness, truth,
and freedom. For the most part HuckÕs lies are morally good which seems
like a contradiction. Ironically, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ends with
HuckÕs salutation of ÒYours TrulyÓ. The fact is that Clemens
uses HuckÕs morally sound lies as a reflectionon the true nature of
American society during the time of slavery.