Chapters 2 and 3
lying in bed one night, he hears Tom Sawyer calling to him through
the window, and the two escape together into the woods.
After playing a trick on Jim, Miss Watson's slave, Tom and Huck
meet the rest of the boys in the woods. Tom tells everyone that
to be in the gang, they must take an oath and sign their names in
blood. If any one of them breaks the secrecy of the gang, however,
his family will be killed. Since Huck doesn't really have a family,
he tells the others that they may kill Miss Watson if he spills
any secrets. As daylight approaches, the gang agrees to meet at
a later date to go about the business of "[robbing] somebody and
[killing] some people."
Huck briefly explains how he gave up the religion Miss Watson was
trying to force on him and how his father was said to be drowned
but that he didn't believe it. Next, he says that the gang has broken
up, because they weren't doing any real violence, but just pretending.
The comical scene of the Sunday School picnic, where Tom tells Huck
that actually the schoolchildren are a procession of rich Arabs
and their elephants, uncovers the differences between the two boys.
Like Don Quixote, Tom is the idealist, while Huck is the realist
who doesn't believe his friend's "lies."
book clearly starts with the exposition where Huck introduced himself
as a character from Tom Sawyer and the son of a town drunk. He lived
with Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. However, Huck did
not like the civilized life and would rather live an easygoing life.
We obtain some insight into the characters of Huckleberry and Tom
and realize that in many respects they contrast each other.
Tom tends to be insensitive to others, in particular slaves.
He wanted to tie Jim up just for the fun of it and it was Huck who restricted him to placing his hat above him in the tree. This will become more evident later on in the book. Tom also seems to possess a tendency to be hypocritical, for instance, he makes his gang sign an oath in blood not to divulge any of the gang’s secrets but when a boy threatens to do this, and Tom merely bribes him.
In contrast, Huckleberry is much more considerate of others, although he
lets himself be drawn into Tom’s make-believe world derived from passages he has read from books.
Twain detested the type of literature, which was popular at this time most
of which was imported from Europe. However, it is ironic that the one quoted Cervantes Don Quixote, was itself a book, which satirized the romantic adventure stories, much as Twain does here in Huckleberry
Huck is very unsure about religion. He has tried praying without any
effect just as rubbing lamps produced no genies, so he treats both with the same amount of seriousness.
To sum up the two main characters, Tom’s tendency towards hypocrisy
contrasts sharply with Huck’s sincerity. These differences, however, do not spoil the friendship between the two because they share the trait of being immature embodied in the phrase “boys will be boys”.
Twain is trying to bring to life the child which is in everyone, lying
dormant, this and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer are Twain’s attempts to rekindle the childhood feelings and memories.