Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
The novel is set in the 1930's in St. Petersburg, a fictitious place supposedly reminiscent of the town of Hannibal, Missouri the place where Mark Twain grew up. It follows the events in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, also of the same author.
Huck Finn. Huckleberry Finn or Huck Fin is the protagonist of the story. A dynamic character, he is a liar and sometimes a thief.
Set in pre-civil war America, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn takes place along the Mississippi river. As Huckleberry travels along it he learns lessons about life, society and most importantly; himself. Surrounded by a world of prejudice and racism, Huck is forced to learn to make decisions on his own. He is able to learn from the imperfections in the rest of the world as he views them. While on the river, Huck and Jim are at peace. The river symbolizes freedom for both Jim and Huck. The river is Jim’s path to freedom from slavery, and it is Huck’s freedom from society. When Jim and Huck journey onto the banks of the river they see the inhumanity to man that goes on in the world. This juxtaposition of the river and the land help emphasize the peacefulness of the river in comparison to the crazy society on land. Huck learns to think for himself, and tries not to conform to the ways of the people on the land. Although the world that he lives in teaches him to be a racist, his journey down the river teaches him to use his own mind, and find out what he really believes in.
Throughout the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Mississippi River plays a highly significant role. The American landmark represents freedom, in many cases, to the runaway slave Jim. A cornerstone of Huck's maturity during the novel was the Mississippi River. This body of water reveals all that is wrong and ignorant in American society. The ignorance ranges anywhere from slavery to something as petty as a couple of small town swindlers. The Mississippi River was as routine as slavery and cotton plantations in this country's infancy;however, the significance of the Mississippi River cannot be measured, but it can be revealed.
Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
No one who has read the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain can deny not seeing the faults of the civilized world that Twain so critically satires. This element of the novel plays the perfect backdrop to the thing Twain uses to compare civilization with: The ideal way of living. Every time the main characters Huck and Jim are away from the influences of the civilized world, Twain’s vision of the ideal way of living reveals itself to the reader.
In the story Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, the river symbolizes freedom. Huck goes on the river to get free from becoming civilized and to get away from his pap and Jim uses the river to get freed from slavery. Also the king and the duke use it to escape from angry towns. Any time they are in trouble when they get on the river they are no longer in trouble.
Imagine the amount of freedom one feels as they drift down a river voluntarily stranded on a raft. The thought of it is relaxing to the mind, but actually experiencing it for yourself is a whole new happening. The freedom, no worries, no sounds but the noise of the river water rushing and the sounds of boat horns off in the distance. In Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the author effectively symbolizes the river as a place outside of society.
Throughout life people grow up in many ways. It is the life experiences people deal with that help them mature and develop. The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, develops themes with his motifs. In the novel Huck starts as an uneducated young boy with no mother and an abusive drunk father. Huck decided to fake his death and run to keep himself safe, along the way he meets Jim, a run away slave from the town he lived in previously, and has to make the decision whether or not to help him escape. Considering the time, this was a monumental moral decision that this young boy has to make. Huck has to grow up a lot in a short amount of time due to the situations that he goes through. The motifs childhood, lies, and cons develop the theme of maturation and development in Huck throughout the story.
For Huck and Jim, the river represents freedom. The river takes them to freedom. Huck says, “So in two seconds away we went a-sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river, and nobody to bother us.” For Jim, the river takes him away from his slave life, and for Huck; it takes him away from his cruel father. Despite their freedom, the river brings along some challenges like floods, contact with criminals, shipwrecks, and stolen goods. Usually, one bad situation happens after another. As Huck and Jim’s journey continues, the river becomes an escape route that makes Huck and Jim work together, and fight for their freedom.
Along with the raft, the river represents the path of life and how it can turn in many unexpected ways and how obstacles can get in the way of things at any time. During Huck and Jim’s journey along the Mississippi, obstacles in the form of troublesome slave hunters and scandalous royalty constantly took them off course and led them on a temporary sidetrack. Once they are able to overcome the obstacles or outrun trouble, Huck and Jim were back on the river enjoying life. Like the river, life also has many obstacles that must be overcome before one can continue down the path.
In the 1850’s, life in the south was difficult for people of all kinds of people. Whites were expected to be the leaders of society, and were supposed to be educated and proper. Blacks were often enslaved, and they faced racism and discrimination wherever they went. Both groups often wanted to break free from the grip of the southern culture, but it was difficult to escape from social conventions and live by one’s morals. Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave Jim have to face all of these problems, but these dilemmas are never directly explained in text. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, symbolism is used to show the struggles between freedom, morals, and social conventions through the river, the land, and the raft. The river represents freedom and how difficult it is to attain. Land shows the world as a place where society judges what is normal and makes the people blind to morals. Likewise, the raft is a symbol of following one’s heart rather than obeying society. While all of these symbols have meaning, the river must be focused on the most, as it is the main setting of the story and represents the most important theme.