The Theme of Freedom in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
Freedom is Americas greatest attribute and characteristic, nevertheless, one can debate whether or not the idea has always been present in the country. Authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson demonstrate true American pride when writing. However, the dark side of the thought is shown as well.
Slavery is a part of the sinful history of America, which in turn, inspired authors such as Mark Twain to write novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book and character, Huckleberry Finn, face many struggles with freedom such as his need to become free from the Widow’s confinement, the choice of society or himself, and a debate of whether the book should be banned or not due to the choice of words Mark Twain uses.
Mark Twain introduces the protagonist of the novel, Huckleberry Finn, as an uneducated, wild, and independent child. Shadowed by the Widow, Huck is “sivilized” into being well conformed and polite. However, the reader is quick to realize that Huck is an independent and adventurous person. Huckleberry’s drive for freedom pushes him away from the Widow, and more towards himself. Being bound to the Widow does not allow him to express his personality, but steer him away from it instead. Near the beginning of the book, Huck argues, “Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then, but I didnt mean no harm. All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warnt particular. Huck expresses how he prefers to leave to a “bad place” than to spend himself trapped with the Widow’s teachings. Huck also understands that being free means that he can live his own life, by his own rules, and not worry about how he looks, talks, or acts.
Throughout history, society has dictated man’s rights to how one must act, look, believe, do, etc. Huckleberry Finn lived in a society where the color of a person’s skin determined the result of one’s life. Jim, the Widow’s African American slave, joined Huck on his adventure to freedom. Jim has convinced Huck to help him in his reach the North. Huck realizes that Jim IS a human being; despite Jim’s ethnicity and social principles. At the end of the book, Aunt Sally questions Huck and Tom about why they would want to help free a slave. Huck simply replies, “No, I aint out of my head; I know all what Im talking about. We did set him free – me and Tom. We laid out to do it, and we done it. And we done it elegant, too. Assertively, Huck defends Jim against the remarks that Aunt Sally is making. Mark Twain wanted to indicate that Huckleberry did not care about how Aunt Sally thought of him, because he was already used to that as a free-thinking person. The novel The founding fathers created a nation based on the preservation of mans unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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