The theme of growth and maturity is portrayed heavily throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain which centers on Huck Finn, a rambunctious boy whose adventures with a runaway slave build him into a mature young man. The novel is a bildungsroman because it depicts the development and maturing of a young protagonist. In the first part of the story, Huck is seen as very immature. He struggles between doing what he wants and what society would have him do. On the raft, Huck realizes what his own beliefs are because of the people he meets in his journey. Huck?s biggest transformation is through his relationship with Jim. Although Huck isn?t a wonderful person, by the end of the book he has matured extraordinarily.
At the beginning of the tale, Huck struggles between becoming ?sivilized? and doing what he pleases. He doesn?t want to listen to the rules that the Widow Douglas and her sister force upon him, even though he knows the widow only wants what is best for him. Miss Watson pushes Huck away from society even more through the way she treats him. She teaches him religion in such a dreary way that when she speaks of heaven and hell, Huck would rather go to hell than be in heaven with her: ?And she told all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there?I couldn?t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn?t try for it? (12-13). Huck is taught a very different kind of morality by his father who believes ?it warn?t no harm to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay them back?? (70). He likes his father?s idea of morality better because he is not yet mature enough to fully understand right and wrong, although living with the widow...
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...e sees Jim as a person who cares about him.
In the beginning, Huckleberry Finn hasn?t fully formed opinions on topics such as slavery. He is quite immature and content to just have ?adventures? with his friends. During his journey on the raft, he learns much more about himself through his dealings with others. He establishes his very own standards of right and wrong. Huck?s most important lessons are learned through Jim. He learns to see Jim as a person rather than as a slave: ?I knowed he was white inside? (263). More than any other character in the book, Jim is a catalyst for Huck?s maturity. Through Jim as well as other people he meets along the way, Huck becomes a more defined person who?s more fully himself. His development through the course of the novel proves The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to be a gradual journey toward growth and maturity.
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