The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel by Mark Twain, is like a social mirror for us, shown through the eyes of an innocent boy as he explores society along the Mississippi River. Huckleberry Finn is the innocent boy whom Miss Watson and Widow Douglas want to “civilize” by teaching him manners and reading the Bible to him; however, Huck’s father, Pap Finn, does not want Huck to be civilized and suppresses Huck to his control. To achieve freedom, Huck stages his own murder and lives on Jackson Island where he finds Jim and follow the flow of the Mississippi River with only a manmade wooden raft experiencing the problems and dangers of society. Toward the end of the book, Tom reunites with Huck and decides to help Huck free Jim, but causes a commotion to “free” Jim; even though, Tom knew Jim was freed by Miss Watson’s will. Huck experiences the conflict between the values of society and his own personal ideas especially on slavery because it is a prevailing conflict in freedom. Twain uses this innocent boy, Huck, to show that even though he may be young and ignorant, ones heart prevails through society because he realizes that Jim is a real person and allows Huck to mature as a person.
The conflict of society versus man is very important and evident in the story, and Huck constantly encounters the conflict of society’s value that slaves are a lesser person and must be treated like property. Huck’s belief of a black slave is not any different than any white man progresses in the story shown by his thoughts on Jim. Society presents ignorance during this time period before the Civil War and Twain wants to show the ignorance with Huck’s innocence of
human nature. Huck does not fully understand the concept of human bondage; however, Huck does understand that society treats slaves as a lower status, and Huck questioned himself once when he “humbles myself to a nigger (Jim)” (Twain 89). Without the full knowledge of slave bondage, Huck’s heart was able to overcome his mind that society tries to set into him. Huck also tries to escape from being “civilized” because to him, it was very contradictory and restricted him. Despite escaping Miss Watson, Huck experiences the “civilized” people, who still are contradictory to themselves, that are like a restriction not only to Huck, but also to Jim as they journeys down the Mississippi River.
Freedom is usually thought of the ability to do whatever he or she likes; however, Twain uses freedom to describe Huck wanting to achieve freedom from society’s ignorance, while Jim wanting to achieve freedom from physical bondage. The Mississippi River is the main character that allows both of them to be able to do so, but at the same time put them in risk losing freedom. As Huck and Jim traveling even deeper into the South, Huck is able to see the evil of society, thus enabling him to almost experience first hand of society’s ignorance. One such example is the feud between the Grangerfords and...