The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain tells the story of an adolescent boy travelling down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave. Huck has staged his death in order to escape his abusive, drunken father and hooks up with his foster mother’s escaped slave. During the adventurous journey Huck discovers many problems with society and civilization as he encounters a variety of individuals, each of whom represent a different problem with the current social order. The pair gets caught up in various ordeals involving the people they encounter. The running theme throughout the book is Huck Finn’s continuing struggle with his conscience concerning his relationship with the runaway slave, Jim, who has grown to be his friend and parent figure.
The plot of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn involves the adventures of Huck and Jim who are on the run. Huck is escaping his drunkard father and Jim is avoiding his proposed sale. Together they are rafting down the Mississippi River, away from civilization and society. Huck has just recently come under the care of his Christian foster mother, the Widow Douglas, who is working to undo his sinful ways and train him in a religious lifestyle. Now, as Huck grows in friendship with the black slave Jim, and they become mutual companions and guardians, he is faced with a moral dilemma. Should he betray Jim’s trust by turning him in to his rightful and legal owner or must he follow his gut feeling that he must help Jim to achieve his personal goal to acquire his freedom, even if this illegal cooperation and stealing of people’s property sentences Huck to an eternity in Hell. Huck thinks to himself, “I begun to get it through my head that he was most free and who was to blame for it? Why me. …. What had poor Miss Watson done to you… that you could treat her so mean?” Huck is filled with guilt and loses sleep over worrying about what he has done. Huck has an opportunity in Chapter XVI to turn Jim in to a bounty hunter but he cannot go through with it and rather saves Jim by lying to the man to keep him at bay. Later, in chapter XXXI, Huck decides to write a letter to Miss Watson, divulging the whereabouts of her slave and even informing her that he, Huck, is not really dead.