The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a bildungsroman that follows the life of a young boy who just tries to make do with his life as he is pressured from society and his peers on how he should be living his life. Twain emphasizes the powerful influence of society and peers in shaping a person’s beliefs, whether for the better or for the worse. Huck’s defiant attitude and resistance to the pressures of his surroundings, enables him to find his own happiness and independence. Twain’s story takes place in the south before the civil war, the same time period Twain himself grew up in, tackling the touchy subject of slavery. Mark Twain’s proletarian point of view combined with his deft use of irony creates a powerful story of the classic American dream and search to find one’s freedom.
As Huck grows up, he is under constant pressure from authority figures in his life, shaping how he acts even when he is all alone with only Jim. For example, he constantly references the widow’s Christian morals she tried imprinting on him. When Huck tries to save the band of robbers he remarks, “I judged [the widow] would be proud of me for helping these rapscallions, because rapscallions and dead beats is the kind the widow and good people takes the most interest in” (Twain, 95). Although Huck is nowhere near the direct influence of the widow, her constant pestering of good Christian values when he lived with her has made an impact on him as a figurative presence. Another example is when Huck references his father, saying “If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.” (154). By recalling a lesson from his fath...
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Twain’s honest outlook of an individual’s search for freedom serves as a metaphor for the struggle readers face on a daily basis to find their own freedom. By acknowledging societies’ faults and poor but inherent influences on individuals, he has created a timeless story that forever has become a classic in American literature.
Cantor, Paul A. "Aristocracy in America." Claremont Review of Books Spring 2013: 44+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.
James, Pearl. "An overview of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in, an essay for Exploring Novels, Gale." (1998). Rpt. in Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.
Peck, Daniel H. "Vassar College Libraries." Mark Twain & Huckleberry Finn. Vasser College, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
Twain, Mark. Huckleberry Finn. Milwaukee: Raintree, 1980. Print.
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