The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

5) Why doesn’t Huck want to be adopted by Aunt Sally?

Huck doesn’t want to be adopted by Aunt Sally because she doesn’t conform to his idea of freedom. Huck is running toward freedom just as much as he is running away from civilization. He describes this twofold desire in the final sentences of the book: “But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” Huck’s idea of freedom looks a lot like stories of the Wild West, and he’s made up his mind to pursue that idea and “light out for the Territory.” But Huck also despises civilized life. When he says “I been there before,” he is referring back to his time with Widow Douglas in St. Petersburg. This is where Huck started at the beginning of the book, and he doesn’t want to end where he began. Ironically, though, this is exactly what happens. On the book’s first page Huck explains that Widow Douglas “allowed she would sivilize me; . . . [and] when I couldn’t stand it no longer, I lit out.” The similarities in Huck’s language (i.e., “sivilize,” “light out”) indicate that he’s ended where he began.