The Theme of Huck’s Development

April 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

The theme of Hucks development from a young boy to a young man is heavily portrayed in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by its author Mark Twain. The gradual growth and maturity of Huck since he was a young boy helps to build on theme and depicts him as a young protagonist. Generally, it gives a clear picture of his adventures with Negro Jim and the Mississippi river.

Hucks growth is mostly embodied on the independent choices that he makes through changing his attitude that helps and contributes to his moral growth. Just like many other young men he is split between the societal status quo and the beliefs it holds and making conscious decisions on his own (Twai, 2003) From being uncivilized Huck continuously learns the art of following his instincts to make the right decision and not allowing both the internal and external factors to play the major role in shaping his decisions. The paper will categorically analyze three scenes that show how Huck development from being a young boy to a young man is progressively depicted in the novel.


  • 1 Scene 1: Hucks interaction with Negro Jim
  • 2 Scene 2 Hucks instincts are tested: His Role model Tom sawyer is a gang member
  • 3 Scene three: Friend versus society differentiation by Huck

Scene 1: Hucks interaction with Negro Jim

During the first parts of the play Huck is portrayed to be very immature and mostly complies with the societal standards that had been set. Before meeting with Jim, Huck suffered from inferiority complex that had resulted from living with a drunken father whom was also abusive. During this point and stage it was very difficult for him to have any concept of morality since he was very young. After meeting with Negro Jim he undergoes several events that enables him to make his own judgments and also become a critical thinker as well. At first Jim is not so clever and intelligent but he is very honest and trustworthy and always aims to help others. He played an important role in teaching Huck the true definition of friendship and loyalty which helps him to undergo a transformation in his early stages. First Jim loves his family very much and hence treats the little man as his own son. This helps to bring out real change and transformation considering the fact that, Huck always felt alone and came from an abusive family that did not care a lot. This helps to build his trust and loyalty and even realize the importance of friendship. Overcoming the slavery mentality where the society never cared about each other was an attitude change that Jim wanted to impact on Hucks. During their adventure a fog separates the two and Jim is filled with a lot of joy to see Huck alive again. At this point it is clear that Jim was willing to sacrifice a lot in order to ensure that his friends safety was maintained. Jim also has a strong sense of self-esteem that makes him to believe that everyone is equal in the society despite their background. Even though after the fog that separated them, Huck later fooled him, he gained his respect and trust. Therefore, this scene is of ultimate importance in helping to shape the young man mentality and also how he treats others. At first he did not reciprocate by treating his friend well and even fooled him; however this paved way for his later transformation in life after he was able to make individual decisions. The external factors of coming from an abusive family would have been the major contributors of his actions but he learned that he had to control them, and do the right thing to people and the society as a whole.

Scene 2 Hucks instincts are tested: His Role model Tom sawyer is a gang member

There is always a very thin line between a teenagers decision to do good or bad. There are always faced with a big dilemma and more so if their role models and people they look up to succeed by doing evil. During these scene Tom Sawyer was Hucks role model and he was a member of a local gang that killed and terrorized people. In order for someone to be enrolled as member they have to agree with the group rules where you are required to kill your family members if you break any of the rules. One of the boys however realized that Huck did not have a real family and hence would not have anyone to kill incase he broke any of the group rules. It was therefore very unfair to them in case he joined them. However, Huck had to find his way in into the group and therefore he offered Miss Watson to be killed in order to join the group offering an innocent person to be killed in order to join a gang is very unethical and hence at this very point his immorality was at the peak. He had to make a conscious decision to do good or bad and this was a vital point of his moral transformation.

Huck also encountered a major dilemma when he and his friend Jim were sailing on small boat came across a wrecked steamboat that had three criminals. At this very point Huck decided to sail away and left the three criminals stranded. However he realized that he had left them to die and even if they were criminals they also deserved to be offered some help. Huck also thought that he may also become a murderer one day and probably find himself in the very same situation and need some help as well. This is the very first occasion that he considers what how actions could probably affect other people and hence he decided to call the captain who investigates the wrecked steam boats and helps the three men to get out of the situation. Although these three men were murderers he could not justify their death and hence the right thing to do at this point was to help them and leave the rest to them to decide. His moral progression from being a young boy to a young man had taken place in this scene. His major role was to make a conscious decision based on his instincts of whether to do good or evil to the men. If he left them to die their deaths would be on him justifiably because he was the only one who saw them but never did anything to solve the problem. This improved his moral judgment and problem solving capability as well.

Scene three: Friend versus society differentiation by Huck

Through the entire book both Jim and Huck are good friends and Jim plays a major role in his moral progression and helping him makes right decisions. His loyalty to him is undivided and always wished Huck well. However, upon arrival to Cairo Huck is faced with moral dilemma that differentiates a boy from a man. He either had to keep his promise to his friend Jim or turn him in as a runaway slave. There was a thin line between complying with the societal standards and fighting for his friends freedom. Jim had been a loyal friend all along but the society could change anytime and leave him alone. At this point he felt guilty and does not think it is right to help Jim steal his family considering he was a slave. However, he was finally able to make the right decision, that proved that he had progressed from being a boy to a man. He states that he would rather go to hell but get his friend the ultimate freedom. At this point he was able to set his own moral standards that were different from societal expectation. The ability to become a critical thinker and make the right decision was proving that he had finally progressed from being a boy to a man. It would be very unfair and ethical if he complied with the society and left his all time friend Jim alone to suffer and his family to die in slavery. This was the true test of his loyalty and moral intelligence.

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