1. Summary of the Novel
Mark Twain’s 1884 novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is the story of a young boy, Huckleberry Finn, who lives in St. Petersburg, Missouri, along the banks of the Mississippi River, and essentially desires to become his own person and live the way he wants. In the beginning of the story, Huck is being “sivilised” (Twain 1) by a widow named Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Huck feels restricted by the manners, schooling, and overall “righteousness” he is being fed. To combat this, he often sneaks out with friends (one of which is Tom Sawyer) to partake in “robbery” (even though the gang never actually commits unlawful crime). Eventually, Huck’s frequently-drunk father, Pap, kidnaps Huck from the widow, as he is quite interested in some money Huck has come into due to his previous adventures with Tom, and takes him to a cabin across the river where drunken beatings of the boy are a regular occurrence.
To escape this miserable fate, Huck soon fakes his own death and rides a stray canoe to Jackson’s island, where he later meets Jim, a runaway slave of Douglas’s, ironically. The two coexist for a time, but eventually catch wind that search parties are being sent for both of them, so they decide to board a stray raft and float down the river, away from St. Petersburg. The two hope to stop at the mouth of the Ohio River, where Jim can travel north to become a free man. They encounter many an interesting sight as well as close call along the way: a sinking steamboat with hostile robbers aboard, a group of slave-hunters in a thick fog (which causes them to float past the mouth of the Ohio), and a steamboat which splits their raft as well as their company with one another, as Huck ends up washing ashore to an aristocratic family and Jim to the same place but days later. Huck gets to know the family, and becomes informed that a long-lasting feud has been rekindled with a neighboring family. Luckily, he is picked up by Jim as violence ensues.
All the while along the trip, Huck is faced with morally perplexing thoughts about slavery, and about what is “right” and “wrong.” He is forced to lie and go against what he has been taught his whole life in order to protect Jim, which is the action he believes is morally “right.”
After escaping the feud, two con-artists are rescued by Huck and Jim, and attempt to scam several areas along the route, including one which involved the inheritance of an estate. Huck feels morally compelled to thwart the scam, though, and eventually does so successfully, but the two frauds find their way back to the raft, and continue their ways. They soon sell Jim to a family, and Huck sets out to find him. The family turns out to be the Aunt and Uncle of Tom Sawyer, and unknowingly assume that Huck is, in fact, Tom. As Tom is about to arrive, Huck meets him and convinces him to play along and pose as his younger brother. Once at the estate, the two (with Tom’s fantastical imagination),...