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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck is always the innocent, but he becomes more aware of the need to make direct choices as to what is right and what is wrong. He has always known intuitively what is right and what is wrong, but he is being exposed to greater and greater examples of what is wrong. The criminality and mean-spiritedness of the Duke and the Dauphin cause Huck to use his wiles to escape from them. The experience also leads to his assessment of slavery and his determination to set Jim free. Huck believes he will go to hell for making this decision, but his humanity is stronger than his notion of social pressures or even of the sort of sin embodied in books. For Huck, doing what is right is a decision made in the heart and not by the law or the Bible or any such entity. Even when he is most afraid of the consequences, Huck is true to himself and his human feelings.

The education of Huck Finn that occurs in the course of the novel is not traditional education but is rather exposure to the reality of the world and to the nature of the human beings who inhabit it. The more traditional education is what the Widow Douglas wanted for him:

I had been to school most all the time, and could spell, and read, and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don't reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever (Twain 38).

Such a "civilized" education include


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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:26, October 24, 2014, from
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