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Struggle for Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Struggle for Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

"The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer, I lit out."

The aforementioned quotation best describes Huck's philosophy when faced with ties that bind. When he is unable to take the restrictions of life any longer, whether they be emotional or physical, he simply releases himself and goes back to what he feels is right and what makes him happy. Hence, one of the most prominent and important themes of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is freedom. Freedom not only from Huck's internal paradoxical struggle in defining right and wrong, but also freedom from Huck's personal relationships with the Widow Douglas and his father, as well as freedom from the societal institutions of government, religion, and prejudices.

Throughout the story Huck is plagued with an internal moral dilemma of what he feels is right and what he is taught is right. Huck is possibly the only character in the story that operates solely on his own moral convictions. This produces significant conflict when the accepted rules of society, often corrupt in nature, are imposed upon him.

The best example of this internal conflict is Huck's brief experiences with organized religion. The teachings by the Widow Douglas of the pathways to heaven are in constant conflict with Huck's own beliefs. Because of this, Huck readily rejects the teachings of organized religion, and therefore must often grapple with the undue guilt that this hypocritical heresy places on him. Such is the cas...

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...eedom is essential to happiness. Twain ends the novel with a frustrated Huck stating; "Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it. I been there before." Although the novel ends leaving the reader a sense that Huck is truly free, this concluding phrase subtlety, yet clearly, implies that the struggle for freedom is a never-ending one.

Works Cited and Consulted

Harris, Susan K. "Huck Finn." Huck Finn. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1990.

Trachtenberg, Alan. "The Form of Freedom in Huckleberry Finn." Huck Finn. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishing. 1990.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

Whitley, John S. "Kid's Stuff: Mark Twain's Boys." Huck Finn. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishing. 1990.
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