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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

It is a book by American writer Mark Twain that was produced in the US in February 1885 though it had been initially produced in the UK in Dec. 1884. The novel is credited for influencing the direction of children’s stories in America for its heartfelt depiction of boyhood. It is also known for its vivid depictions of places and people along the Mississippi. “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a parody of ingrained views, notably racism, set in a Southern historical culture that had vanished about two decades ago before the novel was written.

Plot Summary

Huck rejects societal structure and its labors to “sivilize” him, as displayed by Miss Watson, the Widow Douglas, and other grownups at the novel’s opening. Subsequently, in Huck’s relations with Jim, this disagreement becomes more ostensible, as Huck ought to choose if to betray Jim, as culture supposes, or shield and assist his ally instead. Pap comes into town, wants Huck’s cash, and abducts Huck. Widow Douglas and Miss Watson seek to “sivilize” Huck until Pap returns back, demanding Huck’s cash, and abducts Huck. Huck avoids society by lying to be dead and absconding to Jackson’s Island, where he befriends Jim and get on on a waterway expedition with him.

Huck increasingly starts to doubt the principles that civilization has instilled in him, for example, to defend Jim, his deceits and fabricates a narrative to frighten away those on the lookout for runaway slaves. Despite the fact that Huck and Jim enjoy a reasonably calm existence on the raft, they are inevitably unable to avoid the outer world’s sins and unfairness. The scam artists the Duke and the Dauphin are the most noticeable ambassadors of this outside wickedness, who take part in many subsequent profound frauds that ultimately result to sacrificing Jim, who finds himself at the Phelps plantation.

Huck considers informing Miss Watson that the Phelps household is holding Jim, but finally decides against it, choosing to serve his morality instead of the conventional ethics of the day. Rather, Tom and Huck endeavor to free Jim, with Tom suffering a leg injury as a result of their actions. Once Aunt Polly spots Tom and Huck on the Phelps farm, Tom notifies Huck that Miss Watson deceased two months ago and left Jim unfettered in her will. After that, Tom recovers from his afflictions, meanwhile Huck feels that he’s had plenty of modernity and embarks on a trek to the West.


Slavery and Racism

Despite the fact that Twain penned Huckleberry Finn 20 years following the “Emancipation Proclamation” and the conclusion of the “Civil War,” bigotry and the repercussions of slavery still plagued America, particularly the South. Twain’s description of slavery is a symbol for the quandary of people of color in the U.S even after slavery was ended. Twain explains how racial discrimination distorts both the oppressors and the downtrodden in Huck by seeing-through the hypocrisy of slavery. For instance, Huck reveals that “it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I could not ever feel any hardness against them anymore in the world” (320) “It was a dreadful thing to see” (321). “Human beings can be awful cruel to one another” (321); he adds that “What is the use you learning to do right when it is troublesome to do right and aren’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?” Mark says, “I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks do for theirs” (128). As a result, a world of moral ambiguity emerges, with ostensibly “decent” white folks like Sally Phelps and Miss Watson voicing no care regarding slavery’s wrongness or the tragedy of isolating Jim from his close relatives.

Moral and Intellectual Education

Huck fits into the “bildungsroman novel” by focusing on Huck’s education. A “bildungsroman” is a book that represents a person’s development and maturation. Huck loathes the standards and ideals of a society that sees him as an outsider and does nothing to defend him from maltreatment since he is an underprivileged, illiterate lad who as well did not have parents. He says, “My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever” (124). Huck began questioning some of the teachings he had learned, mainly those regarding slavery and race, due to his deepening concern about civilization and his mounting bond with Jim. Huck has chosen to “face the wrath” on several occasions rather than abide by the rules and learn what he has been taught. Even though Huck does not entirely acknowledge praying, he does understand the widow’s elucidation that he “must help other people . . . and look out for them all the time, and never think about myself” (207). Huck arrives at these conclusions in line with his observations, reasoning, and what his budding mind tells him.


The above discussion analyses the novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, which narrates a tale of a poor child who declined to abide by society’s dictates. Moral and intellectual education and slavery, and racism are the main themes portrayed in this literary work. Twain’s main focus was to portray the status of American society following Civil War conclusion and long after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Work Cited

Twain, Mark. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 1884.” Available from a variety of publishers (1985).


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