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Themes Taught through Individual Characters and Society in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, many dominant American themes and culture are present. Twain explores these themes through the actions, relationships, and development of different characters in the novel. Freedom, survival of the fittest, and individual conscience are three themes that are explored in individual characters and in society. Freedom, the most blatant theme in the novel, takes on a different perspective for Huck, escaping a civilized lifestyle, and Jim, escaping being sold by Mrs. Watson. Huck is forced to adapt to Widow Douglass’ civilized lifestyle, but he perceives it as “rough living… when [he] couldn’t stand it no longer, [he] lit out… and was free and satisfied” (1). The struggle within the confines of both the Widow and his father are the reason he flees to the island. While the Widow sent him to school and taught him religion, Pap was a major threat to Huck’s security and he knew how to cleverly escape it. By playing a trick on his drunk, sleeping father in the shed, “Pretty soon [he] made it out” (41). He took a canoe downstream and once he arose, “there was Jackson Island” (42). This marks his first point of freedom now that Huck is successfully on his own. Jim, on the other hand, runs away before Mrs. Watson is able to sell him, separating him from his family. Similarly to Huck, when Jim hears the rumors he runs away to Jackson Island. When the island becomes unsafe, they set out on a raft down the Mississippi River. “ ‘You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft’ ” (128), said Huck. Huck and Jim now have no restrictions, they are able to be free and they no longer need to hide from anyone. On the river, Jim is labeled a runaway slave and fears that he will be caught. At ... ... middle of paper ... ...lavery” and face the punishment for helping Jim, when he was actually doing the right thing (250). Huck learns to love Jim, despite his differences, and goes against what society thinks because he knows what is best for others, especially his friends. In today’s society, these themes are still dominant. While some view freedom as a responsibility, others take advantage of the privilege. Those with a survival of the fittest attitude do what they want, when they want, in order to get what they want. People with individual conscience believe they have the privilege to do what is right, whether it be for themselves or for others. Unfortunately, those who search for freedom are usually seeking it from those who take advantage of it. While freedom comes with a cost, every American should be able to enjoy their own freedoms and liberties without anyone restricting them.
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