When the boys form a band of robbers, Huck seems rash and unreasonable next to Tom. Huck wants to actually kill people and steal fabulous prizes from stagecoaches, while Tom, as most children are, is content to merely pretend. In the realm of childhood, Huck’s point of view is dangerous and out of place. His ambitions for adventure do not align with the expectations that society has of a child his age.
This ineptitude, however, completely changes once Huck and Tom are placed in a situation of real adventure and danger. While attempting to free Jim, Tom continues to see this venture as he did the band of robbers. He wants everything to be as dramatic and elaborate as in “the books”, but fails to recognize the fact that a man’s life is on the line. Huck, mistakenly, lauds Tom’s complex plan, but still manages to see the gravity of the situation that they are in. What is perhaps most concerning is Tom’s reaction to being shot in the leg. He is excited because he feels that he has really experienced something that a character in a fantastical adventure would experience, but his carelessness is the reason that Jim ends up in chains. In the eyes of society, Tom has been far better prepared for life than Huck has, but it becomes clear here that Huck’s experiences have given him a greater understanding of human life than Tom’s “sivilization” has.