Essay, Research Paper: Adventures Of Huck Finn Estimation

Literature: Mark Twain

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Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, describes a young boy
torn between what he feels for his country and what society expects of him and
what his heart tells him is right. Huck Finn, faces many situations forcing him
to deal with decisions that carry with them the ability to bring about change.
Huck begins searching for an identity which is truly his own. In determining his
self image, Huck deals with conforming to the social norms and freedom, trying
on different identities that do not belong to him, and shaping these new found
tributes into an identity which best suits his conscience. Throughout the book,
Huck rejects “sivilized” life because he has no reason for it. All that
civilization has brought for him was bad things. He meets many people and they
all try to influence him to change his ways to what they see is right. Pretty
soon, he does not want to deal with any of it and just wants to live a life of
adventure and fun. The novel begins with Huck under the care of Widow Douglas as
"she took me for her son, and allowed that she would civilize me; but it
was rough living in the house all the time." (p. 11) Huck has become so
used to being free that he sees the Widow Douglas' protection solely in terms of
confinement. He finds this impossible because he loses his freedom amongst
"the bars and shackles of civilization." Huck feels that he belongs
out under the stars where the community cannot tell him what to do. His drunken
and often missing father has never paid much attention to him; his mother is
dead and so, when the novel begins, Huck is not used to following any rules. At
the beginning of the book, Huck is living with the Widow Douglas and her sister,
Miss Watson. Both women are fairly old and are really incapable of raising a
rebellious boy like Huck Finn. They attempt to make Huck into what they believe
will be a better boy, as Huck says, to "sivilize" him. They do this by
making Huck go to school, teaching him about different religions, and making him
act in a way that the women find socially acceptable, which means no more
smoking. Huck, who has never had to follow many rules in his life, finds the
demands the women place upon him constraining and the life with them lonely. As
a result, soon after he first moves in with them, he runs away. He soon comes
back, but, even though he becomes somewhat comfortable with his new life as the
months go by, Huck never really enjoys the life of manners, religion, and
education that the Widow and Miss Watson impose upon him. They represent
everything in society that Huck hates. Pap is Huck’s usually drunk father. His
abusive nature is the driving force for Huck as he flees down the river. Pap
himself is illiterate, nonconforming, and oppressive. He never pays any
attention to Huck and does not take responsibility for his own son. He lets Huck
do pretty much whatever he wants, and he abuses Huck. Huck did not go to school,
had no manners, and dressed like a scrub. So when he ended up living with Miss
Watson and Widow Douglas, he could not stand being controlled. He did not want
to live a “sivilized” life like every other person in the country. He
preferred freedom of wilderness and adventure to the restriction of society and
its norms. Huck's acceptance of Jim is a total defiance of society. Jim is Miss
Watson’s slave and runs away because she is going to sell him. By Jim being an
African American, he has to deal with racial issues. People in their society are
not accepting of people of different skin colors. When Huck is with Jim, he is
having fun. He would rather live a life of adventure than going to school. He
has the freedom that he is used to having when living in the woods with Jim. No
one is controlling his life the way Miss Watson and Pap have done in the past.
Huck believes he is committing a sin by going against society and protecting
Jim. He does not realize that his own instincts are more morally correct than
those of society. As Huck drifts down the river on his raft, he begins to look
for himself. He attempts to slip into the identities of others to experience
things in a different way than they normally would be. Huck's longing for
freedom is his only self desire. His freedom requires that he find a conscious,
moral identity. He must discover his true self and know himself as a person and
as an individual in order to be free. Life is full of unexpected circumstances.
People are forced to face these situations that are sometimes unfortunate. Some
run away from their problems, while others are strong enough to face them. Their
strength to face life's struggles comes from their valuable morals that guide
their choices. Throughout this journey, Huck encounters many different
situations in which he learns to adapt and react to each in a way that he feels
is suitable. Huck learns about life and the real world. He then gathers what he
has learned and combines it into an identity which suits him. This enables him
to create a conscience with which he finds himself comfortable and at ease.
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