You Can't Pray a Lie

“You Can’t Pray a Lie”
In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain makes the main character Huckleberry question the morals of how he was raised and tests the boundaries of society. In chapter Thirty One of this book, titled “You Can’t Pray a Lie”, Huck makes a breakthrough in his decisions to help a friend achieve freedom, accepting that his God may even damn him for it.
Huckleberry Finn is already doing the remarkable by helping a runaway slave, Joe, escape his owner this far despite the way Huck was raised. Throughout their adventures in this book, Huck and Joe have become close friends, so it comes as no surprise when Joe goes missing in the woods in Chapter 31 that Huck breaks down. The surprising part of this chapter comes when Huck decides to abandon all he has known from society about race, and takes it upon himself to free Jim from the farm of Mr. Phelps. “I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’- and tore it up”. (214) This quote, above most others from this chapter is most important because it shows how Huck struggled internally with the thought of helping Miss Watson, a woman who had brought Huck in and tried to raise him like he was her own son, get her slave back, which was what he had been taught was right; or helping Jim, a close friend in need, in escaping Mr. Phelps, and earning his freedom for a chance at a happy life, which Huck had been raised to believe was wrong. Because of this Huck has made major character development in deciding to put Jim’s needs before his “for sure” damnation. After all, a god who has allowed slavery for so long must look down upon those who try to help them toward freedom, right?