The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Do you think huck did the right thing with respect to the men on the steamboat? Give reasons and cite the text to support answer

Chapter 13

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Being that his decision was based on his survival (and Jim's), he did what he needed to do. Read the excerpt below, and I think you can come up with your own opinion.

"Twain is famous for his sense of irony, and this section contains several examples. His best use of irony concerns the three robbers on the wrecked steamboat. When Huck and Jim lose their raft, they need to steal the robbers' skiff. However, the robbers return before they can steal it. The robbers then decide that they want all of their money, including their partner's share, and thus head back into the steamboat. Huck and Jim immediately steal the skiff. The irony is two-fold: not only are the robbers "robbed," they are also condemned to die on the steamboat as a result of their greed. Huck attempts to have them rescued, but the river acts faster than he can, by dragging the wreck further and causing it to sink too far for anyone to survive. Thus, the robbers meet the fate they condemned their partner to, namely drowning."


Text Evidence of Huck's guilty remorse;

"Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after our raft. Now was the first time that I begun to worry about the men -- I reckon I hadn't had time to before. I begun to think how dreadful it was —even for murderers, to be in such a fix. I says to myself, there ain't no telling but I might come to be a murderer myself yet, and then how would I like it? (Chapter 13)

Huck was frightened for his own life;

"But before they got in I was up in the upper berth, cornered, and sorry I come. Then they stood there, with their hands on the ledge of the berth, and talked. I couldn't see them, but I could tell where they was by the whisky they'd been having. I was glad I didn't drink whisky; but it wouldn't made much difference anyway, because most of the time they couldn't a treed me because I didn't breathe. I was too scared. And, besides, a body couldn't breathe and hear such talk. They talked low and earnest. Bill wanted to kill Turner."

"Quick, Jim, it ain't no time for fooling around and moaning; there's a gang of murderers in yonder, and if we don't hunt up their boat and set her drifting down the river so these fellows can't get away from the wreck there's one of 'em going to be in a bad fix. But if we find their boat we can put all of 'em in a bad fix -- for the sheriff 'll get 'em. Quick -- hurry! I'll hunt the labboard side, you hunt the stabboard. You start at the raft, and -- "

The last two quotes above come from Chapter 12.


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn/ Chapters 12 & 13