Lying in "Huckleberry Finn"



The main theme in Huckleberry Finn is lying. Throughout the whole story the idea and concept of lying is prevalent. Huck is known as the biggest liar throughout the story, but also Jim and other characters along the way.

What the text says about Lying:

The text never directly says "lying is bad" or the opposite that lying is okay. In the beginning of the story Huck enjoyed being able to lie and get away with it. Then towards the middle of the book Huck realizes lying is something the widow wouldn't be proud of. He then vowed and said he wouldn't lie unless he really had to. As his journey continues with jim, Huck finds himself lying more and more. In the end Huck came to terms with lying in order to protect Jim.


  • "What did you say your name was, honey?" "M-Mary Williams." Honey I thought you said it was Sarah when you first come in?" ( Chapter 11) - At this point in the story Huck dressed up as a girl and entered the town. He is talking to Judith Loftus and has lied about his gender and his name. At this point in the story Huck is still okay with lying and the consequences it causes.
  • "It's a dead man. Yes, indeedy; naked, too. He's ben shot in de back. I reck'n he's been dead two er three days. Come in, Huck, but doan' look at his face- it's too gashly." (Chapter 9) This quote is said by Jim , Jim lies to Huck about it being Huck's Pap because he wants to protect, he lies to keep him sane and to help him, which brings me to my next point lying for the sake of friendship.

Additional Themes

The theme of lying presents another theme of friendship, and lying for the sake of a friendship. The text clearly values friendship, and very strongly presents the idea of having healthy friendships. Huck lies for Jim's sake all the time, to keep him and safe. Huck doesn't ever admit it, but he does truly care for his friendship with Jim because he would have turned Jim in a long time ago if he didn't care. Jim lies in the instance of Pap because he wants to keep Huck motivated and safe. The text says that through the themes of lying and friendship, sometimes you have to lie in order to keep your friend safe.