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Huck makes this decision spontaneously, when heading to shore to determine what town they are near and with the intention of reporting Jim. On his way to shore, Huck meets two white men searching for runaway slaves. The men ask him who else is on his raft and rather than telling them about Jim, Huck tells them his Pa, mother, and sister are aboard.
Huck consistently assumes different characters and roles in order to survive and to protect Jim. At the Grangerford's, he pretends to be an orphan, to the slave-hunters he pretends to be an innocent boy living with a sick family, and to the Duke and Dauphin, he pretends to be an orphan traveling with his only slave. Each of these roles provides great insight into Huck's personality.