Traditionally, critics have sought to preserve the smoothed-over Disney version of Huck, the all-American uncultured, natural Rousseauistic boy. A critical problem occurs when one comes to the end of the book. Huck seems to sell out; the solution has been to discredit Twain in order to preserve the purity of Huck. The book, otherwise a masterpiece, therefore falls off at the end.
Campbell Tatham, working in the spirit of deconstruction, demonstrates how Huck has really been "selling out" all along, with the book's ending just being another instance:
The Huck Finn who takes part in the events at the Phelps farm is a logical projection of the Huck Finn who at three crucial moments based his actions on his pathological fear of loneliness and his personal need for acceptance and comfort. The book ends where it began because that is what the book is all about. Twain simply did not have the confidence in man's ability to effect a moral progression to pose Huck as a conventional hero."