Freedom in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


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Huckleberry Finn – Freedom

 

Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne...Oh no! It's a...long distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting." -Albert Camus. The dictionary defines freedom as the condition of being free from restraints. Freedom is not just a word one can say without meaning. It is a privilege, a privilege not everyone is granted. Freedom gives the liberty to choose what should is done and how.

 

Freedom is the capacity to exercise choice and free will. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the narrator, Huck, seeks freedom from society. Huck, a thirteen year-old boy, lives with Widow Douglass and her sister Miss Watson. He lives with them because before this he had no home, only a drunken father, whom he rarely sees. Both of the ladies attempt to civilize Huck by sending him to school and teaching him good manners. "Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must try to not do it any more" In this passage from chapter one you can see that Huck enjoyed doing what he pleased when he choose. "I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones, too, a little bit." This passage is from chapter four of the book spoken by Huck. In it one can see that although Huck begins to like the civilized ways he still has a craving for his old ways, which seem uncivilized to all.

 

Freedom is not only having a choice but also having no restraints. The characters of the Duke and the Daphne, who were really two criminals running away, have an advantage of no restraints being given. In chapter 19 of the book, the two men introduce themselves to Huck and Jim. When they do this, they do not introduce themselves with their true identity. Because there were no restrictions, they could not only befriend Jim and Huck but also trick them. "He told them he was a pirate-been a pirate for thirty years out in the Indian Ocean-and his crew was thinned out considerable last spring in a fight, and he was home now to take out some fresh men, and thanks goodness he'd been robbed last night.

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..and poor as he was. He was going to start right off and work his way back to the Indian Ocean...and though it would take him a long time to get there without money..." After the group hears this, they immediately start a collection. The two men got away with almost 90 dollars. This passage, from chapter twenty of the novel, demonstrates that the Duke and the Daphne again have the freedom to fool people. They got away with stealing because no restraints existed. The river traveled by Jim and Huck symbolizes freedom. The Mississippi River is their escape route to freedom, Jim's to Cairo and Huck's away from his Pap, or father. Also the river puts out of sight the ideas of society. When out on the river, they have no one to answer to and no one to listen to. They have complete control over themselves and no restraints holding them back.

 

Freedom is not slavery. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Jim, Ms. Watson's slave, runs away to escape being sold and having his family separated. Jim has no freedoms or choices. He is told to do something and must do it without any questions. Even when Jim escapes and meets Huck on the island, he is still required to hide and avoid all contact with anyone. Freedom is something Jim desires more than anything. Jim represents the slaves at that time; all required to struggle and risk their lives for freedom. To the slaves, freedom is a long fight that some never win.

 

The necessary components of freedom are liberty, free will, and independence. Without one, the other won't do. Freedom is an essential part of daily life. Without freedom, one might not be able to choose what breakfast he eats. Freedom gives a choice to all. Though freedom may be a tiring race in the end it is worth it.

 


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