Ryan WangPeriod 8-9 In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huckleberry Finn is the son of the local drunkard in 1840s St. Petersburg, Missouri. Following the events of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson, attempt to civilize Huck. Huck becomes rich from one of his previous adventures with Tom Sawyer. Huck’s father, Pap, seeks to take this money. Pap kidnaps Huck and takes him to a cabin on the Illinois shore. After Huck fakes his death, he discovers Miss Watson’s runaway slave, Jim. The two plan to set sail on the Mississippi River, away from the life they once knew. Twain uses symbolism and character relationships to display freedom, familial bonds, and moral righteousness.The author uses symbolism to display freedom. Throughout the novel, Twain relates the Mississippi River to freedom as it represents both Huck’s escape from his abusive father and Jim’s escape from slavery. To Huck and Jim, the river represents a world without rules and responsibilities. Despite the freedom that Huck and Jim feel on the raft, they encounter many trials and tribulations, such as robbery and murder. Twain writes, “So in two seconds away we went a sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river and nobody to bother us” (P. 162). The use of symbolism, expressed through the Mississippi River, shows how one may find freedom beyond the expectations of society, but with the moral obligation to be a righteous person.Twain uses character relationships to display familial bonds. Throughout the novel, Jim and Huck develop a makeshift father-son relationship, though at any moment Huck could turn Jim in as an escaped slave. As Huck contemplates whether or not to send a letter informing Miss Watson of Jim’s location, Huck decides that he would “go to hell” in order to free Jim from captivity. Twain writes, “Jim was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around, and see that paper” (P. 170). The use of character relationships, displayed through the relationship of Huck and Jim, shows how the bond of a family, even one formed between a white youth and a black slave, can surpass even that of slavery.The author uses character relationships to display moral righteousness. Throughout the novel, Huck treats Tom both as his idol and his moral compass. Twain writes, “Tom was a boy that was respectable, and well brung up; and had a character to lose…and he was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind…” (P. 186). Though Tom seems to have everything, Tom ironically lacks moral judgment. Tom is conscious of Jim’s freedom for two months, but partakes in his own adventurous escapades and lets Jim suffer. When asked why Tom wished to set a free slave free, Twain writes in the narrative of Tom, “Well, that is a question, I must say; and just like women! Why, I wanted the adventure of it” (P.229). The use of character relationships shows how one with seemingly everything may at the same time lack moral righteousness.Through the use of elements such as symbolism and character relationships, Twain shows the significance of freedom, familial bonds, and moral righteousness. In the end of the novel, Huck decides to head out west to “Injun county” to have more adventures. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be rated 1/10 lies. Just as Tom’s lie about Jim’s freedom causes Tom, Huck, and Jim to spend two months in vain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will cause the reader to spend two months searching for an adventure that will never be discovered.
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