In Mark Twain's novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck begins by stating that he "never seen anybody but lied, one time or another" (Twain 13). By stating this, Huck is implying that he himself also lies. However, in Huck's life, there are several different facets of lying. There are "stretching the truth" lies, lies made out of ignorance or misunderstandings, lies made for survival, and malicious lies designed to harm people.
Mark Twain once stated that "Truth is more of a stranger than fiction" (Notebook 1898). To Huck Finn, this is the way that he lives his life. His best friend, Tom Sawyer is an example of someone who stretches the truth. Tom does this to create excitement in his life and live out the romantic novels of adventure that he reads. Tom leads his friends in creating a gang of robbers. When they first form their club, the boys "take an oath, and write their names in blood" (Twain 20). The entire point of the gang is to ransom people and kill all but women and children (Twain 21). This gang fulfills Tom's fantasies of adventure and wild times without his family holding him down it is an escape from civilization.
Jim is another character in Twain's novel that habitually stretches the truth to build him up. Jim's lies are harmless though and are only done for his own amusement or gratification. When the gang of boys plays a joke on Jim in the beginning of the novel, Tom "slipped Jim's hat off of his head and hung it on a limb" above Jim's head (Twain 19). When Jim wakes up in the woods, he is convinced that witches enchanted him and "rode him all over the State;" however, as Jim continues to tell the story to more people, he exaggerates it to build it up in impressiveness and thus build his own importance (Twain 19). By the time that Jim has told most everyone about the witches, he claims to have been ridden "all over the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils," in retelling and stretching this tale, "Jim was monstrous proud" and was even looked up to by the slaves in the surrounding areas (Twain 19).