Critics have concluded that Mark Twain did set aside The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for two years.
He finished the novel through chapter 18 then set it aside. There has been many assumptions as to why he did this. During these chapters Huck and Jim were heading up the Mississippi river to Cairo, Illinois to achieve freedom. If Twain had continued with this scenario the novel would have been over, and the two main protagonists would be free. Therefore Mark Twain set the novel aside, and when he picked it back up he changes the plot.
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Instead of going to Cairo, they make a wrong turn in the fog. Instead the two protagonists are separated. This results in fear for Huckleberry Finn. He is afraid of losing Jim. Beforehand Huck had played a prank on Jim, resulting in him feeling guilty. So when they are separated it gives Huck time to contemplate the connect between the Mississippi and the South.
He also contemplates his inner morals, and what society is telling him to do. Twain modeled Huck’s character to retain a childlike, non judgemental conscience. This results in Huck trusting Jim, and giving him his trust and friendship. This was taboo back then, and it may have made it had for Twain to continue the novel.
His satirical approach to the novel reflects that in a way. You can assume Twain was against slavery, but this was not as widely accepted in the 17th century. Also, there is evidence that Twain had experienced writer’s block whilst finishing Huck Finn. These two issues may have made it hard for Twain to continue his novel; resulting in the change in plot.