The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Huck Grows Up

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Huck Grows Up


Many changes violently shook America shortly after the Civil War.  The nation was seeing things that it had never seen before, its entire economic philosophy was turned upside down.  Huge multi-million dollar trusts were emerging, coming to dominate business.  Companies like Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel were rapidly gobbling up small companies in any way possible.  Government corruption was at what some consider an all time high.  “The Rich Man’s Club” dominated the Senate as the Gilded Age reached its peak.  On the local front, mob bosses controlled the cities, like Tammany Hall in New York.  Graft and corruption were at an all time high while black rights sunk to a new low.  Even after experiencing freedom during the Civil War, their hopes of immediate equality died with the death of Lincoln.  Groups like the KKK drove blacks down to a new economic low.  What time would be better than this to write a book about the great American dream, a book about long held American ideals, now squashed by big business and white supremacy?  Mark Twain did just that, when he wrote what is considered by many as the “Great American Epic”.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “The great American epic,” may be one of the most interesting and complex books ever written in the history of our nation.  This book cleverly disguises many of the American ideals in a child floating down the Mississippi River on a raft with a black slave.  On the outside of the story, one can see an exciting tale of heroism and adventure; however, that is not all.  The book shows Mark Twain’s idea of the classic American idealism, consisting of freedom, morality, practicality, and an alliance with nature. Twain manages to show all this while poking fun at the emergence of the “robber barons,” better know as the big business of the late nineteenth century.  Twain portrays many different American values in this book by expressing them through one of the many different characters.  The character that Twain chose to represent morality and maturation is none other than Huck Finn himself.  Throughout the novel one sees many signs of change.  The setting is constantly fluctuating, except for the constant Mississippi, and Huck and Jim, a runaway slave, under-go many changes themselves.  At the end of the novel Huck Finn shows a large change in his level of maturity than he had exhibited in the beginning of the book.
As the book begins, Mark Twain gives the reader a view of a little boy and his best friend.  The reader gets a brief overview of events that place the friends in their current positions.  Twain shows this position to give the reader an introduction to Huck Finn.  As the story opens, the reader quickly grasps the idea that Huck Finn, by nature, does not show the ideas of “civilization”.  This “civilization”, which is forced upon Huck by the Widow Douglas, shows how Huck gets to be so rebellious and immature. Huck’s immaturity is further displayed in his attitudes towards black people.  Huck and Tom, Huck’s friend, are constantly attributed to pranks played on a slave named Jim.  In general, it appears as though Huck is a follower of his friend Tom Sawyer.  Huck must conform to Tom’s ritualistic ways, straying from his own practical ways.  It seems as though Huck is incapable of making his own decisions.  Huck always followed Tom in his silly childish games, like pretending they were pirates.  In these childish games the immature children would pretend to “stop stagecoaches and carriages on the road, with masks on, and kill the people and take their watches and money.”  These games, based off of what Tom had pieced together from novels, demonstrated the lack of maturity of the boys.  In this opening setting the reader views one side of Huck, one of immaturity mainly dominated by Tom Sawyer.  This view seems to radically change as time progresses.
The first time that Huck Finn is shown is shown to be varying from the original immature figure that he is displayed as in the opening of the novel, is when Huck goes to Jackson Island.  On the

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