The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Freedom Essays

Huck Finn Freedom Essay

As described by some, life is a search for meaning. Freedom, a core ingredient for meaning, is a central theme of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain. This book is about Huckleberry Finn, also known as Huck, and Jim's search for freedom and freedom in the eyes of others. Every character has his own view of freedom and in this essay, freedom in the eyes of three characters will be discussed. These are Huck, Jim and Pap; three characters who have different views of freedom.

Throughout the novel, Huck looked for freedom, a freedom to be what he wanted to be, believe what he wanted to believe and practice what he wanted to practice. Huck's intention was to break away from the constraints of society. He was introduced to at least three societies, that of his father, that of city life with Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas and that with Jim on the river. First, he was living with the widow, where he had begun to get used to the life of society, however as he was introduced to the life with Pap, he realized that he did not have the freedom he wanted in the life with the widow. He didn't see how he'd "ever got to like it so well at the widow's, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate…." He "didn't want to go back no more…." On the other hand, life with Pap was "lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking, fishing…." He had freedom and fun, along with less responsibility. Nevertheless, he could not take the beatings that his father would give him. He found the life with Pap to be a totalitarian society, where Pap had all the power and would treat Huck like a prisoner.

"But by and by, Pap got too handy with his hick'ry, and I couldn't stand it. I was all over welts. He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days… I made up my mind I would fix up some way to leave there." The third life he found was with Jim, which was more along the lines that he was looking for. With Jim, he found love, respect, and honesty. On the river, where Huck and Jim were equal, he had someone to belong to, a friend, making this society closer to Huck's image of an ideal one. He did not want Aunt Sally to adopt or "sivilize" him as his adventures came to an end.

Jim's idea of freedom was freedom from slavery and oppression. As the story began, Huck found Jim on Jackson Island and found that Jim had run away from his life of slavery because Miss Watson was going to sell him.

"Well, you see, it 'uz dis way. Ole missus - dat's Miss Watson - she pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn' sell me down...

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Huckleberry Finn and the Concept of Freedom

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The Concept of Freedom Many Americans think of freedom as an idea and practice that was pioneered in the United States of America. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is based on the truly American concept of individual freedom. This tale is about a young boy named Huckleberry Finn who travels down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave named Jim. The most literal form of freedom comes through Jim, who is escaping human bondage. Freedom comes in different forms in the book as well, particularly through the protagonist, Huck Finn.

Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn provides a statement on individual freedom and magnifies the conflict between man -or in this case, boy- against society. While writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain was not very concerned with the issue of slavery and freedom for blacks, but the subject is touched on throughout the story through Jim’s character. Jim’s idea of freedom is simply owning oneself and having his wife, children and friends free from human bondage as well. Jim’s freedom, however, is not at all what the novel is about.

In his essay, “Huckleberry Finn and the Problem of Freedom”, Sanford Pinsker said, “Jim’s slavery and gradual movement toward freedom is at best only a small part of what the novel is about” (Pinsker). Instead, the novel is about Huckleberry’s search for liberty in a place where it seems impossible to find. Huck first decided to leave his town because he was tired of it and all of its rules. There was no freedom there for him, therefore he had to leave. He then proceeded to hop on a raft because on the river he was finally free. Huck described it as “mighty free and comfortable on a raft”(116).

The raft is Huck’s home and his freedom, because it is so unlike when he is on the shore. On the shore, freedom is not possible because Huck and Jim cannot be themselves. While on the raft, there are no rules, titles or placements, thus they can be or do whatever they want. Huck loves being outside, away from “sivilization” and all of its rules. Huck’s true feeling of freedom came from being taken away from society, in a land where no tough decisions are needed. Huckleberry loathes the idea of being civilized and he does everything he can to avoid the horrible practice.

Huck’s only idea of freedom was in nature -particularly on the river- away from everyone who felt differently (i. e. everyone besides Jim). Huck closes his story by saying, “Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before” (294). He refuses such a thing because that is why he left his home in the first place. Society has done no positive good for Huck and he will do what he can to be as far away from it as possible, so he can experience his own idea of freedom.

The issue was that Huck can never fully remove himself from society, creating the main conflict in the novel. A main conflict in the novel is man against society. Throughout Huck and Jim’s travels, issues always arise as a result of the innate evil of society. For obvious reasons this causes Huck to see society as harmful. Civilization took away experiences that Huck wanted -such as wild fun- and gave him things he did not want, such as being civilized. Huck sees society as innately cruel, which can be seen through his experiences with the Duke and King.

When they swindle the Wilkes family, Huck says to himself, “It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race” (163). By saying this, he is only proving his point that society does more harm than good. Huck not only sees society as harmful, but also that its ideas are a waste of time. He says, “What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same? ” (91). This only proves that no matter what he does, he will most likely be in the wrong -at least through society‘s eyes.

Therefore he might as well free himself from society’s ideas of right and wrong and think for himself. In fact, Huck must free himself because he understands that “he can never fit into society” but, because pieces of civilization seem to be everywhere, Huck “will never be free” (Pinsker). Huck’s idea of freedom is much different than society’s simply because he is the antithesis of everything society represents. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a manifesto for individual liberty. It shows the freedom found in nature and the repression found in society.

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Twain made that so because he wanted to show that freedom is never wholly possible; because somehow society will always sweep in and take that freedom away. This story is about Huckleberry’s liberty. It hold hints of statements on slave liberty, but this was not the issue that Twain was analyzing. In fact, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a statement on freedom that magnifies the issue of man versus society as a whole, through one young boy. Works Cited Pinsker, Sanford. “Huckleberry Finn and the Problem of Freedom”. Virginia Quarterly Review 7 no. 4 (Autumn 2011): 642-649

Huckleberry Finn and the Concept of Freedom

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