Huck's Journey Through Maturation
Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is based on a young boy's coming of age in Missouri in the mid-1800s. The adventures Huck Finn gets into while floating down the Mississippi River depict many serious issues that occur on the shores of civilization, better known as society. As these events following the Civil War are told through the young eyes of Huckleberry Finn, he unknowingly develops morally from the influences surrounding him on his journey to freedom and in the end, becomes a mature individual.
Huck's evolution begins before he ever sets foot on the raft down the Mississippi. His mother is deceased, while his father customarily is in a drunken state. Huck grows up following his own rules until he moves in with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Together, the women attempt to "sivilize"(Twain, 3). Huck by making him attend school, study religion, and act in a way the women find socially acceptable. However, Huck's free-spirited soul keeps him from joining the organized life the two women have in store for him. The freedom Huck seeks in Tom Sawyer's gang is nothing more than romantic child's-play. Raiding a caravan of Arabs really means terrorizing young children on a Sunday School picnic, and the stolen "julery"(12) is nothing more than turnips or rocks. Huck is disappointed that the adventures Tom promises are not real and so, along with the other members, he quits the gang. Still, Huck ignorantly assumes that Tom is superior to him because of his more suitable family background and fascination with Romantic literature.
Pap and "the kidnapping" play another big role in Huck's moral development. Pap is completely antisocial and wishes to undo all of the bad things that the Widow and Miss Watson have attempted to instill in Huck. However, Pap does not symbolize freedom because he promotes drunkenness, prejudice, and abuse.
So, Huck escapes the cabin to search for the freedom of which he is in need. It is after Huck Finn escapes to Jackson Island that he meets the most influential character of the novel, Jim. After conversing, Huck learns things about the runaway slave of which he had never been aware. Jim has a family, dreams, and talents such as knowing "all kinds of signs"(40), people's personalities, and weather forecasting. However, Huck sees Jim as a gullible slave. He plays tricks on him like the rattlesnake that he puts in Jim's bed that nearly gets Jim killed. At this point in the novel, Huck still holds the belief that blacks are essentially different from whites. Also, Huck's conscience constantly reminds him that he is an abolitionist for helping Jim run away from his owner. Huck does not see that Jim is looking for freedom just as he is.
The first adventure Huck and Jim take part in while searching for freedom is the steamboat situation. Huck shows development of character in tricking the watchman into going back to the boat...