Childhood In Huckleberry Finn

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It is said that if you carry your childhood with you, you will never grow up. In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the protagonist, Huck Finn, proves to leave his childhood behind in all he endures while helping a runaway slave. Set in various states along the Mississippi River in the years before the Civil War during which slavery is prominent, Huck Finn is a character who swims against the tide and makes his decisions based on his conscience, not on the influence of society. Although Twain portrays Huckleberry Finn as uncivilized, stubborn, and naïve, initially, by the end of the novel, Twain provides the reader with a “grown up” Huck who ignores societal standards and champions the well-being of all humanity, race, ethnicity,…show more content…
Huck is shoved back into the suit of a lifestyle he wants no part of, and through indirect characterization, it is made known that Huck feels confined by the social expectations of civilization and wishes he could have a simple, carefree life. He views his life as a natural struggle for freedom. He cannot grasp the importance of study, much less sitting up straight all the time. He does not understand why people limit themselves to this. This struggle is present throughout the novel and creates an important thematic image of natural, free individualism contrasted with the expectations of society. Huck’s frustration continues in his listing all the admonishments he receives from Miss Watson: “ ‘Don’t put your feet up there, Huckleberry’; and ‘Don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry—set up straight’; and pretty soon she would say, ‘Don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry—why don’t you try to behave?’ ” (Twain 2). Huck’s repetition enhances his confined feelings and shows how “tiresome and lonesome” he feels after each of cycle of clean clothes, serious meal, spelling lesson, scolding, boredom. Then,…show more content…
After the duke and king have just made a fake handbill and turned Jim in for a forty-dollar reward, Huck is left furious, but begins to ponder the situation and feels guilt for his choices in aiding Jim thus far, even though his instincts have told him to do so the whole time. Some of his naivety is still present when he decides to write a letter to Miss Watson revealing Jim’s location as a way of giving himself a reprieve of the guilt. However, after realizing that the relief is only momentary, Huck is back to square one. From the start of this passage and from the start of the novel, Huck’s narration represents a search for his own conscience and identity. As seen in this passage, that identity is formed in his attempts to make moral evaluations that he believes are right, despite the pressures of ever-present societal codes. Here, Huck reveals an internal moral conflict he is having with helping Jim escape. On the one hand, he wants to tell Miss Watson of Jim’s location because aiding a slave means death to Huck. He believes his community will shun him in saying, “…and if I was ever to see anybody from that town again I’d be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame” (Twin 212). But the thought of the disgrace Jim would receive, too, casts a shadow over his own grief. Huck uses biting and unpleasant diction as he
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