Oxford World’s Classics Book Club: Families in Huckleberry Finn
Throughout the novel Huckleberry Finn tells a series of lies about his family. For example, he tells the woman who feeds him in Chapter 11 that his name is “Sarah Williams” and that his/her “mother’s down sick, and out of money and everything…” (52).
Later, in Chapter 16 Huck leads two men in a skiff on the river to believe that he is traveling with his family and that they are sick with small-pox. “…because it’s pap that’s there, and maybe you’d help me tow the raft ashore where the light is. He’s sick–and so is mam and Mary Ann” (83).
What do these series of lies reveal? Where does Huck thinks he belongs? With his father? With Aunt Polly and the widow? On the road with Jim?
Also, what do you think it says about Mark Twain that his main character does not come from the “typical” nuclear family?