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Huck Matures in Huckleberry Finn

Powerful Essays
In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a young adolescent's journeys and struggles are portrayed and questioned with Huck's maturation. Throughout the book, Mark Twain examines societal standards and the influence of adults that one experiences during childhood. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have been condemned since its publication, usually focusing, especially in modern times, on its use of the word "nigger." While this could be a valid argument had the author portrayed Jim negatively, I find another reason to argue against the novel because it subverts the ideals that many parents wish to instill in their youth.

Reading this book for the first time since high school and my departure from my parents this year, watching Huck live without parental controls made me realize how impressionable one is to the values instilled by his or her constant role models. Without being forced to conform to societal standards, Huck is supposed to use his own logic to realize what is good and bad, rather than blindly following his elders' "wisdom." 

At the beginning of the novel, Huck shows his skepticism of the values that society imposes when the Widow Douglas attempts to “civilize” him, running away to his freedom until his friends threaten to kick him out of the gang. Given the option of loneliness or independence, Huck chooses to return. When his father returns and takes custody of him again, Huck is deprived of his friends against his own will. Locked alone in the cabin, Huck is given plenty of time to consider his options. If he remains in the cabin, he will continue to be powerless to the will of his father. If he escapes and returns to town, he will only be returned to his drunken father, who will certainly beat him. He r...

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...ny of the lessons that Twain previously informed us in the books' Notice are not in the book. Huck is completely freed of the fear of his father, as Jim realizes that it is time that he learns the truth about his death. Jim is now a free man, showing that Miss Watson realized the error of her ways right before death. Most importantly, Huck realizes how his life has changed throughout this experience and chooses that the society that he was born into is in many ways corrupted by the people within it. Fortunately, because of the money and lack of legal control, he has the ability to retire from it, as he plans to "light out for the Territory ahead of the rest" (Twain, 1256) before mainstream society has the ability to come and ruin it with the misguided traditions and beliefs.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Norton Anthropology 2008
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