Freedom And Racism In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1879 words - 8 pages

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain presents the story of a 13-year-old boy who tries to escape the “sivilized” society by running away from all its constraints. On his way to freedom he meets Jim, a runaway black slave who is hiding from the villagers in order to remain alive. As their ways intersect and since both have similar goals, the two remain together in an attempt to find freedom. This is a pregnant theme in the novel and it applies differently on the two characters: they each want to achieve freedom but each type of freedom is different. They search for the same feeling but with completely different thoughts and wishes. My aim for this essay is to analyze Huck and Jim’s manners of perceiving independence and to illustrate by means of quotations some of the most clear and interesting passages regarding their goals. Also, I would like to discuss the theme of racism which is also an important one in the novel’s development.
Huck Finn has always done what he wanted to do. Along his life few restraints have been put upon him and now, when he finds himself in Miss Watson’s house, he feels trapped and caged, developing a high disgust for everything regarding manners, ways of acting in the society or rules. These constraints torment Huck but despite his dislike for school, church and good manners he decides to stay at Miss Watson because of a promise his friend Tom Sawyer has made to him: that Huck will enter Tom’s robber gang if he remains “respectable”. After he is kidnapped by his drunken father and escapes from the cabin where Pap took him by faking his own death, Huck finds himself alone and on the run. This moment can be perceived as the first milestone he lays on his way to freedom. Catherine Wimberley in her essay called The Great Escape: Huck Finn's Escape from Social Constraint states: “When Huck flees his father's cabin, he is not only escaping a dangerous situation, he is gaining his freedom. This freedom, however, is constantly under threat. In order for Huck to escape the civilized life everyone must think he is dead.” Huck hides on Jackson’s Island and there he encounters Jim, Miss Watson’s slave who is also hiding from the townsmen. They are both fighting for their freedom, opposing the rules set by the society. They rebel against the constraints which force one of them to be a slave and the other one to become civilized. In a way, they are both trying to outcome slavery (Jim in the literary sense and Huck in a metaphoric way). On this island they experience many beautiful moments. One of the most harmonious one is probably their first breakfast together: “So we went over to where the canoe was, and while he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees, I fetched meal and bacon and coffee, and coffee-pot and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was all done with witchcraft. I catched a good big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife,...

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