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American Themes In Huckleberry Finn Essay

1098 words - 5 pages

To many readers, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is known as the “Great American Novel”. It tells a story about a young boy and an escaped slave who develop an unlikely friendship while traveling down the Mississippi River. Twain explores many American literature themes in his writing. Three themes that appear frequently throughout the novel are freedom, nature, and individual conscience.
Freedom plays a significant role in the story because Huck is trying to free himself from Widow Douglas and his father and Jim is escaping from slavery. When Miss Watson and Widow Douglas took Huck in, they were determined to make him more civilized. They don’t allow him to smoke and they’re constantly reminding him to stop scrunching up and sit up straight (4). With the women always on his case, he isn’t able to be the independent, carefree boy that he really is. When Huck gets kidnapped by Pap, he’s grateful to be away from the widow’s house because it’s too “cramped up and sivilized” (30) for him there. Even though he’s free from the widow, his life is in danger if he stays with his drunk abusive, father. Huck’s goal is to “get so far away that the old man nor the widow couldn’t ever find me any more” (31). He’s able to do just that by coming up with a clever escape plan that tricks the whole town into thinking he’s dead. This leaves him free to do whatever he pleases, just like he wanted. Jim’s goal, however, is to escape from his slavery and help free his family. After overhearing Miss Watson tell the widow that she’s going to sell Jim, he realizes that he’s going to be separated from his family so he runs away to Jackson’s island, where he meets Huck. His plan is to travel to the free states so he can free his family and finally reunite with them. While both Huck and Jim sought to gain freedom, Huck’s goal was to escape the more civilized life and Jim’s dream was to rejoin his family.
Nature is a dominant theme in the book because the Mississippi River, where a majority of the story is set, is a safe place for both Huck and Jim and an area where they’re able to interact. When Huck runs away from his father, he goes down the river in a canoe that he found until he gets to Jackson Island. There he is able to relax and recharge while feeling “rested and ruther comfortable and satisfied” (44). While Huck is on the island, no one can find him and take him back to the widow or his father. He is safely hidden from everything he was trying to escape from. Jackson’s Island is where Huck and Jim find each other after they’ve both escaped and it’s the place where they first become acquaintances. “…it was Miss Watson’s Jim! I bet I was glad to see him” (49). In this moment, Huck and Jim are no longer on their own. From then on, they both had each other and nature to rely on to help them escape from...

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