The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by: Mark Twain

Money/Wealth

1

Looky here—mind how you talk to me; I’m a-standing about all I can stand now—so don’t gimme no sass. I’ve been in town two days, and I hain’t heard nothing but about you bein’ rich. I heard about it away down the river, too. That’s why I come. You git me that money to-morrow—I want it.

In this quote from Chapter 5, Huck’s father demands that his son hand over the wealth that he acquired during the events recounted in Twain’s previous novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Ever since Huck came into this money, he has been a target of various efforts to “sivilize” and educate him. In this case, Huck’s wealth also makes him a target for domestic violence. Pap’s desire for Huck’s money is motivated primarily by his alcoholism, and as the events that follow demonstrate, he is willing to harm his son in order to get it. Thus, money causes more problems than it solves.

2

I got to steal that money, somehow; and I got to steal it some way that they won’t suspicion that I done it. They’ve got a good thing here, and they ain’t a-going to leave till they’ve played this family and this town for all they’re worth, so I’ll find a chance time enough.

Huck speaks in Chapter 26 about the need to retrieve the inheritance money that the duke and the king have stolen from the three young sisters. As in the case of Huck’s wealth, here again a large sum of money causes major problems, attracting “rapscallions” who will stop at nothing to take it for themselves. Huck, who has had his own experience with people trying to get their hands on his inheritance, has an opportunity to ensure that the money remains with those who need it most. The ease with which Huck steals the money back shows just how quickly a reversal of fortune can occur.

3

I tole you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich agin; en it’s come true . . . en I knowed jis’ ’s well ’at I ’uz gwineter be rich agin as I’s a-stannin’ heah dis minute!

In Chapter 43, at the very end of the novel, Jim reminds Huck of their earlier conversation, during which he claimed that having hairy arms and a hairy chest constitutes an omen for future wealth. Jim, who has just received forty dollars from Tom, argues that the omen has been fulfilled. Jim’s sense of fulfillment underscores the positive significance of his reversal of fortune. However, the excitement Jim expresses in this quote also indicates his naïveté. Despite having the rather large sum of forty dollars to his name, Jim remains part of a racist society, and thus still captive in a figurative sense.