The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was written by Mark Twain and originally published in 1884 during a time when slavery was prominent in the United States. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story regarding the friendship between the two main characters, Huck and Jim. Huck is a young white male who is on the run, making his getaway from his abusive father. Huck has also a lack of social values and norms, because his father have not been there for him, because he was a alcoholic. This is before Huckleberry Finns journey through his âdevelopmentâ, where Huckleberry Finn, learns about social values, and what life really is. While escaping the life he lived, his adventures take him down the Mississippi River. Jim is a black escaped slave, making the same journey along the Mississippi River as Huck, making his way to freedom. As they experience different adventures on their travels along the Mississippi River, Huck and Jim form a very unique friendship. Twain develops the plot into Huck and Jim’s adventures allowing him to weave in his criticism of society. The two main characters, Huck and Jim, both run from social injustice and both are distrustful of the civilization around them. Huck is considered an uneducated backwards boy, constantly under pressure to conform to the “humanized” surroundings of society. Jim is a slave and is not even considered as a real person, but as property. As they run from civilization, they ponder the social injustices forced upon them when they are on land. These social injustices are even more evident when Huck and Jim have to make landfall, and this provides Twain with the chance to further the socially correct injustices that Huck and Jim encounter on land. The action that Twain uses to ex-pose the racism, freedom, rights and injustice of society develops along with the adventures that Huck and Jim have. The ugly reflection of society we see should make us question the world we live in, and only the journey down the river provides us with that chance.
Probably the most discussed and debated aspect of the novel is how it addresses the issue of race. Although some argue that the novel is extremely racist, careful reading will prove just the oppo-site. The fundamental argument is how Jim, a black man, is represented. Even though during their adventures, Huck begins to respect and admire Jim as a human being just like him, he still reveals his prejudice towards black people. He is bewildered at Jim’s deep feelings for his family and does not see them as natural.
Even after he has decided to help free Jim, Huck indicates that he still does not see black people overall as human beings. Some argue that this illustrates that Huck never condemns slavery or racial prejudice in general but seems to find an exception to the rule in Jim. Nonetheless, the fact that Huck learns to see beyond racial types regarding the circumstances of Jim is an insightful de-velopment in the novel. This indicates that indeed accord can exist between the races and can cause the reader to second guess the presumptions and types regarding racial issues. Neverthe-less, true accord and harmony cannot exist unless different races see one another as equals. Huck approaches this ideal in his relationship with Jim, but ultimately falls short, in spite of their friend-ship and Huckâs upbringing.
Despite the use of language and the racism found in the literature this novel should be embraced and allowed in our schools for its intellectual freedoms and for the greater good. The central theme of the story is a powerful antislavery and racism novel that can teach students that harmo-ny between races can exist. Our culture today has moved closer to sensitivity and understanding between the races in many instances.
The river never cares how saintly you are, how rich you are, or what society thinks you are. The river allows Huck the one thing that Huck wants to be, and that is Huck. The river is freedom than the land is oppression, and that oppression is no more evident than it is to Jim. It is somewhat sur-prising that Huck’s traveling companion is Jim. Huck and Jim’s journey begins as Huck fights within himself about turning Jim over to the authorities. Finally he decides not to turn Jim in. This is a decisive decision for Huck to make, even though he makes it on the spot. This is not just a boy run-ning away from home. It is someone who has decided to turn his back on everything “home”. In this way Twain also allows to let us leave our thoughts of injustices behind also and start to see Jim for who he really is, a man. Even though Huck has made his decision about Jim, early in the voyage we see Huck’s attitude towards Jim as racist.
Later on in the story Huck becomes very caring and protective for Jim, where this reaches a climax at the point where Huck saves Jim from two slave catchers by tricking them to think Jim is was Huck’s small pox ridden father. The dialogue between Huck and Jim also illustrates that Jim is more than someone’s property. He is a human being with feelings, and hopes for a better future. Twain does not necessarily come out and say that slavery is evil, that is far above Huck’s under-standing, but he gives us the ammunition needed to make that decision for ourselves. Huck and Jim’s adventures give us a chance to examine the society they live in. It also gives us a chance to examine ourselves as well as the society today. The story is over a hundred years old, but many of the social things then, sadly, pertain to our society now.
All through the adventure you have Huck Finn and Jim trying to find the one thing they can only find on the river, freedom, but a person can only stay on the river for so long, and so you have to go on land to face the injustices of society. Quite a contrast, the freedom of being without authori-ty, being able to think for yourself, running right next to the constraints made upon you by society. Somewhere deep within the story Twain is making a powerful statement, a wish for all humanity, that we can be brave enough to break with what others assume is correct and just, and make deci-sions for ourselves and the ability to stand on our own and do something about it.
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