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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an ancient novel first published in England in 1884 and later in the United States of America in February of 1885. The book authored by Mark Twain is considered one of the very first novels in American history. Due to this position of the book in American history, it is one of the most outstanding works of literature whose contribution s in literature cannot be ignored. The book mainly dwells on the theme of racism which was paramount during the time of its publication. Due to this theme, the book attracted some controversy especially due to its explicit focus on the racism theme. More controversies were to come in the 20th century especially due to its constant use of the term "Nigger" which is slang for the African Americans. Despite this theme, the story remains one of the most outstanding fiction works in American history.
The author of adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a renowned American fiction writer whose other books includes Tom Sawyer Detective and Tom Sawyer Abroad. Due to his literary skills, Mark Twain is seen as one of the moist outstanding American writers especially for fictional work. However, he has a unique way of incorporating the feelings of the society to his literary work especially as far as issues that deal what the society is undergoing during the setting of the book. Since this book was written during the era for the quest for an egalitarian society, especially a society that had no discriminations based on color, the theme of the book dwells mostly on the afflictions that people of what was seen as an inferior race had to undergo. The racism theme is therefore paramount all over the work of Mark Twain in this book. Twain sets this book along the Mississippi river and the communities that live within this region. He also gives the book a paramount theme of racism which was still paramount during the era of the book setting. He addresses various issues that deal with racial discriminations and the difficulties that the African Americans had to contend with like lack of education. Ironically one can interpret this lack of education by lack of concern from an interested party not race, especially when one thinks of how Huckleberry was denied formal education simply because he his alcoholic father never approved any form of formal education.
A close analysis Adventures of Huckleberry Finn makes one see that the main protagonist in the book, Huck, was driven to pursue the American dream of an egalitarian society especially as far as granting of rights was concerned. Huckleberry, a thirteen year old boy with natural brightness but deprived off the privileges of formal education was born of an abusive father who excessively imbibed himself into consumption of alcohol. One of the main reasons why Finn is not granted formal education is that his drunken father does not approve any form of formal eduction, forcing Finn to stay away from the formal education providers. Due to the conditions of his life, Huckleberry joins with a gang of boys who decides to do several things together but ensure that they do not betray each other should one of the gang members be caught. To ensure that this is done, they decide to take an oath of secrecy with a binding condition that whoever betrays the gang by breaking the oath get his family killed. Unfortunate for Huckleberry, his fellow gang member protest that he does not have a family and thus he can break the oath with little to loose. This destabilizes Huckleberry Finn as he feels discriminated yet he has some people he calls parents. This motivates him now to pursue a life that is free from discrimination, a life without binding rules that are discriminatory against his color or life conditions, a life that would see him move from one area to the other over the Mississippi river communities.
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It is also evident that the theme of independent thinking is paramount in this work. Huckleberry, a co winner of a $6,000 fortune with Tom Sawyer appears to be an independent person who does not necessarily conform to what others conform to. He is an independent thinker who interprets phenomenon according to what he wishes, rather than what he finds others wish to be good. For instance, when Widow Douglas attempts to "sivilise" Huck, he resist this attempts as he sees them as of no importance for life. To begin with, Huck, hates the systems that Widow Douglas has to use especially the fact that the she has to "Grumble" (grumbling is how Huck sees the prayer offered before meal) before eating. The Widow was devoted to reform Huck and make him a respectable man. She tries to teach Huck about outstanding figures such as Moses of the bible but Huck looses the interest after he learns that Moses was a dead character. He gets to learn of the good place called heaven as opposed to the bad place called hell, but instead, he decides to go to hell as he finds heaven is too obvious, hell therefore is a good place for a change of mind (Twain 274). When he learns that the Widow and her sister, Miss Watson, won't relent from their efforts to "sivilise" him, he escapes.
The theme of independence is also evident when Huck meets Jim, a black slave who was escaping from his master (Twain 122). He quickly goes though a conscious conflict of whether it was right to help a slave to escape from a master or report the slave to the nearest person so that the slave can be returned to his master. After a short while he concludes that it is better to help a slave escapes rather than wait for the slave to be sold to another abusive master. He thus helps Jim to escape from his master, an act that makes us see that Huck believed in a society of equity where no member was oppressed by the other and had an independent mind. He therefore did not allow himself to be blinded by the existing knowledge of then, but rather he devoted his actions towards what he considered as right, never minding whether what he saw as "right" was what the rest considered to be right, a sign of independence.
Huck's desires to lead a non confined life which led him to escape from Miss Watson's place is rudely interrupted when he meets with his father "Pap". He successfully manages to block his father from inheriting his fortune, but fails to force his way from the custody of his father. He is taken in by his father who keeps him under his confinement but he finds this life boring. This is another proof that the book focuses on the theme of independent mindedness. Huck finds this boring and plots a way to escape. He fakes his own death and escapes from his father's cabin. The escape from his father's locked cabin again granted Huck his desired freedom that he always desired (Twain 37).
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After escaping from his fathers locked cabin, he goes down the Mississippi river he meets Jim, Miss Watson former slave who learns that escaped after he eaves dropped on Miss Watson negotiating how to sell him to another slave owner at $800. This was the time he was found with the conflicting idea on whether to help this slave escape or report him back, but takes the decision of helping Jim escape as he found that he could have subjected Jim to cruel hands of a new slave owner. They live together in the wilderness, particularly in the Jackson Island. The need to get informed makes Huck come up with a strategy that would make him go to Town and thus he decides to fake his identity as a girl. He manages to establish that there is a $300 reward for Jim, but unfortunate for him, he is noticed that he was indeed a boy as he failed several tests that he was given by a woman he visited in town. After learning this he convinces Jim that they need to escape from the region. They later escape together.
In conclusion, from this analysis, it is evident that there are two paramount themes of the book that of Equity based on races and that of independent thinking. As far as equity is concerned, Huck does not see the justifications why he should report Miss Watson slave even if this would have earned him a good fortune. Instead he opts to help him escape as he viewed this as a better option since he felt that reporting the whereabouts of Jim to Miss Watson would probably subject him to torture especially if he is sold to a new slave owner. This shows that Huck does not approve slavery. Independent thinking is also seen all over the entire book. Huck fails to acknowledge the conventional knowledge, for instances, he sees going to hell as a better option as this place would have adventure, he escapes from various life conditions especially the ones he finds confining. It is therefore evident that independent thinking and non discrimination have been given great preeminence in the book.
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