Individual versus Society in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Mark Twain published his novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as a response to problems he saw in modern society. The reader is able to see many different distinct themes throughout the novel. From the very beginning of the book, Huck was different from the rest of society and had his own thoughts about how things should be done. Huck didn't want to wear clothes, study religion, or want to be “sivilized”. Widow Douglas attempted to conform Huck to the ways of society, but he decided to break free and live his life under his own individual law. Huck and Jim escape from society on a raft; both having different reasons for escaping. Huck is fond of Jim but he is worried that he is breaking the law by helping a runaway slave. One hand tells him to return Jim to Miss Watson, the other says to help Jim escape. On the raft, Jim and Huck can be themselves, which mainly consists of: being naked, being talkative and being free of social norms. This paradise doesn't last for very long as the Duke and king find our friends on the raft. Jim gets sold into slavery again when king sells him to go drink. On Huck's new adventure to free his friend Jim, he reunites with Tom Sawyer, who surprisingly accepts Huck's morals and helps him steal Jim in an extravagant, "by the book", way. At the end of the novel, after everything is resolved, Huck is already prepared to embark on his next adventure away from “sivilization" in the west. Mark Twain satirizes things like organized religion, norms of modern civilization, usefulness of education, slavery and family feuds, to show his readers that the morals that society holds, might not be so moral after all. The reader discovers that Huck's morals are much higher than those that society holds. Huck was ...

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...nd don't let some society decide for you.

Works Cited

Barksdale, Richard K. “The Irony of an Uncivilized' Friendship.” History, Slavery and
Thematic Irony in Huckleberry Finn (1984). Rpt. In Readings on the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ed. Katie de Koster. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,1998. Print.
Martin, Jay. “American Civilization Threatens to Destroy Huck.” Harvest of Change: American Literature 1865- 1914 (1967): Rpt. In Readings on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ed. Katie de Koster. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994: 105- 110. Print.
Reed, Jacob. “Society VS. Gay Marriage and Gay Rights.” Yahoo voices. 10 Sep. 2010. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
Sloane, David. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: American Comic Vision. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1998. 85-100. Print.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Sterling. 2006. Print.
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