Finding Huck Essay

1059 words - 4 pages


In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, the main character enters a transitional period of his life. This character, Huck Finn, faces many situations forcing him to deal with decisions that carry with them the ability to bring about change. Huck begins searching for an identity which is truly his own. In determining his self image, Huck deals with society and freedom, trying on different identities that do not belong to him, and shaping these new found tributes into an identity which best suits his conscience.

      The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn begins with Huck under the care of Widow Douglas as "she took me for her son, and allowed that she would civilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time." Huck has become so used to being free that he sees the Widow Douglas' protection solely in terms of confinement. Huck finds this unacceptable because he loses his freedom among "the bars and shackles of civilization." Huck feels that he belongs out under the stars where the community cannot bound him. Huck then faces the return of his drunkard father. When Huck's father comes back to the town, he only intends to steal money from his son.; "I hain't heard nothing but about you being rich. That's why I come. You get me that money tomorrow-I want it." Huck's own father does not feel one bit inclined to treat his son with any respect. Then his father brings him to a log cabin deep in the woods and Huck once again faces confinement. Huck's escape, flight, and the changing of his identity are his only release from being in the log cabin. Then after escaping from it all, Huck is left with himself and his freedom. The raft on which Huck and Jim travel demonstrates one of the symbols of freedom in the story. To Huck, the raft seems to be the safest place that brings freedom on which he can grow and experience life.           Later in the book when the duke and king enter the scene, the raft is no longer free. The king and the duke rob Huck and Jim of their isolation from society and the real world. The only way Huck can escape from the abuse of his father and society is to rid himself of his known identity. This leads to Huck's first confrontation with the trying on of different identities and the "death" of himself. If he "dies," "they will search the river and they'll soon get tired of that and won't bother no more about me." By faking his "death", Huck will escape his problems and he will allow himself to experience life from different points of view. His "death" leads to his own self-survival because his "death" will give him his freedom, the one thing that Huck truly needs. As Huck drifts down the river on his raft, he begins to look for himself. He attempts to slip into the identities of others to experience things in a different way than they...

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