In Mark Twains Adventures of Huckle Berry Finn the author criticizes society through the simple boy Huck, whose innate wisdom leads him towards a truth, the truth of life. Throughout the story Huck knows that society is bad not for him. Being civilized is not what he wants. Along with this Huck and Jim are running from, not only slave owners and a drunken father, but from a corrupt way of life in an attempt to lead a worry free life. During this novel the author adds a great deal of realism to it that has never been seen before. He shows how life really was for Huck and Jim. Twain does not try to hide the harsh realities and toughness they had to endure. Previously Twain wrote in a style we call the romantic style, where everything is covered up so it will look peaceful and happy.
Throughout the most part of this story people are the biggest hypocrites. How can they expect people to be “civilized” when they own slaves? Being “civilized” is the whole theme of the book and what is considered “civilized” anyway? This is what Huck hates about society, people are wrong and corrupt, and he cant understand it. The only people who arent corrupt are those who are considered morally wrong and incorrect by the already corrupt society. To Huck, nobody needs to
be “civilized” in order to live happily. To live a happy life he wants to be able to live a life of swearing and smoking and that would be perfect. Hes not hurting anybody. Plus its better than living in a society where people hold other people as slaves.
After Hucks father comes back from where ever, he was he kidnaps Huck from Mrs. Watson and takes him to his cabin out in the woods. Whenever his father leaves, he locks him in the house, so he cant escape. Finally, after his dad left one day, he managed to get free and fakes his own death. Now every one thinks he is dead, and this is where Huck begins his journey to freedom as he floats down the great Mississippi River. After meeting up with a runaway slave named Jim they set off with many goals in mind. Initially he wants to break away from society where he thinks “civilization” is totally unneeded. Along with this his counter part, Jim, is running away from slavery, and that to them is totally opposite to what they learned from their hypocritical society. Also the wanted to gain personal truth to their own existence.
The river in this story symbolizes Hucks growing experience. As they float down the currents of the Mississippi Jim and Huck have to
choose the right thing to do and get through tough situations, soon they learn they could never trust anybody. Each stop on the river leads them to another decision that could dearly affect their lives. Along with each stop they met new people and grew smarter by their actions. At each town they cant fit in due to Hucks death, so that means that they have to go on shore at night so they wont be discovered and it is especially difficult for Jim because he is a runaway slaves. Life was hard for them because they couldnt even show their faces in public so they wont be accused of murder or stealing a slave or being returned back to where they started, back to being “civilized”, where Huck would live properly and be taught how to act right and Jim would go back into slavery.
The first encounter Huck and Jim had outside society was with a gang of thugs on a shipwrecked boat in the middle of a storm. While Huck boards the ship, against Jims will, he over heard two accomplices who plan to eliminate the third member of their gang. After Huck hears this he is shocked because society is supposed to be so “civilized”. He then decides to release their life boat, but he realizes that the life boat is better than their raft, so they then decide to steal the raft. Before Huck and Jim take off with the life boat they take the ships loot hoping
to get something that could be useful to them as they continue their journey.
After the river boat wreck, they start back on the river. After a while they start to wonder what is in the loot bag, start to examine it. The thing that took most of their interest was a book. The book was filled wit stories of kings and it makes them start wondering about things. One thing that Jim cant understand is why a French man who speaks French is still considered a man. Obviuosly Jim would be confused, since slaves never recieved any sort of formal education. During all this arguing and wondering they mistakenly pass their destination, Cairo. Unknowingly they kept going and Jim started talking about what he will do when he is a free man. After all this talk Huck is outraged. It is so hard for Huck to try to imagine a black man free. Then he decides to paddle to shore to tell someone about Jim. On his way to shore he met up with two slave catchers. Right before he was going to tell them about Jim he straightens up and realizes that telling the two persons about Jim!
would go against all he believes, and the whole big deal about running would have been for nothing. So, when the slave catchers ask him if they could check the boat for any runaways he told
them that his family with the Small Pox is on the boat, so quickly the decline fearing for their health.
That night after the encounter with the slave catchers a steam boat crashes into their raft and Jim and Huck get separated. After the wreck Huck wakes up on the river bank. He then finds his way to a mansion, he gladly takes their hospitality and tells them his name is George Jackson, just in case they heard of Huck Finn and believed he was dead. He then learns that this family has been in an ongoing feud with another family, the Shepardsons. So for some crazy reason, many decades earlier two persons had a disagreement and from then on it has been the Grangerfords vs. the Shepardsons. Ironically they even go to church with their guns just in case. This is what Huck cannot stand about “civilized” society. If they are so “civilized” why are they in the middle of a feud and why do they need to bring guns to church? After one of the many disputes the Grangerford daughter and the Shepardson boy ran off together. That later led into another feud and the whole Grangerford family got!
killed and in fear for their lives Jim and Huck took off running back down the river. After this stop and little incedent with these two families Huck is even more dissapointed about society. He
now knows that people in other places, outside of his town, act the same way, corrupt.
A couple of days down the river they meet two of the most memorable people in the story, the King and the Duke. “The King and the Duke are not elsewhere matched in fiction”(v.19 Paine (p353)) This group of hustlers caused nothing but trouble for Huck and Jim. Everywhere they went they were scamming for money ad ripping people off. After a couple of days of trying to get money they do not deserve they sold Jim as a runaway slave to make a couple bucks. Immediately Huck ditched these guys and started to everything he could to get Jim back to freedom.
After a day or so of trying to free Jim, Huck gets an idea. He goes to find Tom Sawer. The two of them team up and makes plans to free Jim. Jim being put back into slavery was not the goal of their long strenuous journey so they would have done anything to get Jim free of this thing called slavery. Huck and Tom both knew that they were doing something that could benefit humanity so no risk would be too great.. Throughout their attempts to free Jim there were many problems. Finally
after all the problems were worked out they freed Jim and the three were running away from the plantation Tom was shot in the leg. After every one got away Toms leg was fixed by a doctor, who wasnt very convinced by the story the boys gave him about Tom being shot.
Nobody was happier than Huck at the end of the story. The reason for his happiness is that every one got what they wanted. Jim was freed in Mrs. Watsons will and Huck got to live life the way it was meant to be lived. He found out that life on the river wasnt everything he thought it was, he now realizes that being under the widows care and going to school to learn how to read and write is the wise thing to do. Even though society is still corrupt he will not let it rub off onto him to where he will be too “civilized.”
Huck Finn is perfectly depicted to where he symbolizes a small percentage of the society that wants a change way of life for everybody. I am sure that whatever Twain wanted out of this book he got. TO many people this book was just a story, a sequel, an ending, but to others it was a message and this message was delivered by a young boy who did so much but barley did nothing at all. The message was that life is a one
time thing and if you live that life in a corrupt or “civilized” society its really not worth living. You should be punished for living in a society where you willingly kept other human beings as slaves and treated as much less than what they were. Animals got better treatment than what these slaves received. Many people believed that this book shouldnt have been written. Why not? People were scared and they all knew that there way of life was corrupt and wrong but they have lived like that for so long how could the ever change?