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The Story Behind The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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 included accepting slavery, of course, and Twain sends Huck down the river with Jim in tow so he can come to terms with the meaning of slavery and the meaning of freedom.

Huck learns about the world, and, most important, he learns about himself. He learns what he will do to protect a friend, and he lives the innocence that is his major characteristic. The fact that Jim is his companion forces Huck to confront his own sense of right and wrong more openly:

Twain's identification with his young hero enabled him to vent his feelings of constraint and frustration and to relieve symbolically the pressures that seemed to be hemming him in. But providing Huck with a runaway slave as a companion meant that Twain was dragging along with him a portion of his own troubled conscience in a way that had social and personal implications (Quirk 21).

Huck takes care of Jim because Jim is another human being, ignoring the differences between them because of skin color. This is a novel in which the main character does not change a great deal except as he realizes his own value and the particular importance of certain of his own character traits. Huck always compares himself to others, usually unfavorably, but in the end he sees that his choices are better than their choices:

Huck's role as initiate is to change, to grow, to go forward from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge. His successful ascent into light will bode well for a nation soon to be dramatically divided by the question of slavery (Jones 156).

In the Narrative of the Life of Frederi...

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The Story Behind The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:23, August 18, 2017, from
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