Quotations or quotes are sentences or paragraphs from a literary work which show the writer’s ideas, beliefs and also give important messages. The quotes from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn also show issues of racism, slavery, relations, and importance of education. Some of the representative quotes from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have been analyzed below.
Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
“The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time.”
Huck speaks these lines to tell his readers that the Widow Douglas adopted him to educate him and help him to become a civilized citizen. However, since she was too decent, refined and strict for Huck, he didn’t want to spend his time at home.
“But by-and-by pap got too handy with his hick’ry, and I couldn’t stand it. I was all over welts.”
Huckleberry Finn speaks these lines to state that his father came to take him. However, he does not tolerate his being very cruel and violent. Constant beatings and abuse caused swelling on his body. Huck chose to live with Widow Douglas due to the physical abuse he had to face from his father and escapes at one point.
“People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don’t make no difference.”
Huck believes that though people may call him Abolitionist as he was against slavery and was trying to help Jim. During those time, Abolitionists fought against segregation of the African Americans and slavery. He thought they might hate him for keeping silence over the issue of Jim. However, he was determined not to disclose or put Jim in danger. This line shows his resolve to help his friend.
“I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for murderers, to be in such a fix.”
Huckleberry Fin wonders about human nature. He helped the strangers when he was with Jim. He put himself in danger without worrying that they may be caught. That is why he is saying that even the murderers would not be in such a complicated situation as he was then.
“Well, he was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head, for a nigger.”
Huck speaks these lines while comparing white people with African Americans. He says that Jim has been always right though he did not consider him when he met him. Eventually, he finds that he is not only intelligent but also very kind. Joe helps Huck to be kind and balanced.
“It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger—but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither.”
Huckleberry Finn speaks these words when Jim complains about his unfair behavior. Jim also believes that Huck played a trick on him. Later, Huck feels sorry and says that he has realized his mistakes. He accepts his mistakes. It takes him fifteen minutes to gather the courage to do so.
“Conscience says to me, ‘What had poor Miss Watson done to you, that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you, that you could treat her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how. That’s what she done.”
Huck speaks when he is confronting a moral conflict. He feels that Jim cannot escape as he is Miss Watson’s legal slave. However, Jim is also his friend and deserves to be free. He thinks that Miss Watson has done nothing wrong to him or mistreated him. On the other hand, he is making plans for Jim to escape. The dilemma is between loyalty to his white community and friendship.
“The pitifulest thing out is a mob … they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it, is beneath pitifulness.”
Colonel Sherburn faces a mob after killing a drunken man. However, knowing the psychology of the mob, he thinks that they do not have the courage to fight. They have no head or a commander like an army. Hence, they cannot attack without a leader. His assessment of the mob proves right as they turn away when he demonstrates his fearlessness.
“I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’—and tore it up.
Huck had come to a critical situation and thinks that Jim has been caught. He believes that it is his responsibility to win freedom for Jim by any means necessary. After a lot of thinking and planning with Tom, he is prepared to go against the conventions. He resolves that it is not ethical to let his friend be arrested and enslaved again.
“But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”
Huck planned to go to the west and thinks that his aunt wants to take him back to make him a cultured young man. However, he cannot be cultured or have refined behavior. He believes that most civilized people have hypocrisy lurking behind their nature. The last sentence shows that he has already experienced it and knows that learning to be civilized wasn’t necessary.