Huck Fin

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is a book about a

young boy\'s coming of age in the Missouri of the mid-1800\'s. The main

character, Huckleberry Finn, spends much time in the book floating

down the Mississippi River on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim.

Before he does so, however, Huck spends some time in the town

of St. Petersburg where a number of people attempt to influence him.

Before the novel begins, Huck Finn has led a life of absolute

freedom. His drunken and often missing father has never paid much

attention to him; his mother is dead and so, when the book begins, Huck

is not used to following any rules. The book\'s opening finds Huck living

with the slightly mean but sweet Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson.
Both women are

fairly old and are really somewhat incapable of raising a rebellious boy

like Huck Finn. Nevertheless, they attempt to make Huck into what they

believe will be a better boy. Specifically, they attempt, as Huck says, to

"civilize" him. This process includes making Huck go to school,

him various religious facts, and making him act in a way that the women

find socially acceptable. Huck, who has never had to follow many rules in

his life, finds the demands the women place upon him constraining and

the life with them lonely. As a result, soon after he first moves in with

them, he runs away. He soon comes back, but, even though he becomes

somewhat comfortable with his new life as the months go by, Huck never

really enjoys the life of manners, religion, and education that the Widow

and her sister impose upon him.

Huck believes he will find some freedom with Tom Sawyer. Tom is

a boy of Huck\'s age who promises Huck and other boys of the town a life

of adventure. Huck is eager to join Tom Sawyer\'s Gang because he feels

that doing so will allow him to escape the somewhat boring life he leads

with the Widow Douglas. Unfortunately, such an escape does not occur.

Tom Sawyer promises much-robbing stages, murdering and ransoming

people, kidnapping beautiful women-but none of this comes to pass. Huck

finds out too late that Tom\'s adventures are imaginary: that raiding a

caravan of "A-rabs" really means terrorizing young children on a

school picnic, that stolen "joolry" is nothing more than turnips or

Huck is disappointed that the adventures Tom promises are not real and

so, along with the other members, he resigns from the gang.

Another person who tries to get Huckleberry Finn to change is

Pap, Huck\'s father. Pap is one of the most astonishing figures in all of

American literature as he is completely antisocial and wishes to undo all

of the civilizing effects that the Widow and Miss Watson have attempted

to instill in Huck. Pap is a mess: he is unshaven; his hair is uncut and

hangs like vines in front of his face; his skin, Huck says, is white like a

fish\'s belly or like a tree toad\'s. Pap\'s savage appearance reflects his

feelings as he demands that Huck quit school, stop reading, and avoid

church. Huck is able to stay away from "Pap" for a while, but Pap

Huck three or four months after Huck starts to live with the Widow and

takes him to a lonely cabin deep in the Missouri woods. Here, Huck

enjoys, once again, the freedom that he had prior to the beginning of the

book. He can smoke, "laze around," swear, and, in general, do what

wants to do. However, as he did with the Widow and with Tom, Huck

begins to become dissatisfied with this life. Pap is "too handy with the

hickory" and Huck soon realizes that he will have to escape from the

cabin if he wishes to remain alive. As a result of his concern, Huck makes

it appear as if he is killed in the by taking and killing

a goat in the cabin while Pap is away, and leaves to go

to a remote island in the Mississippi River, Jackson\'s Island.

It is after he leaves his father\'s cabin that Huck joins yet another

important influence in his life: Miss Watson\'s slave, Jim. Prior to Huck\'s

leaving, Jim has been a minor character in the novel. He has been shown

being fooled by Tom Sawyer and telling Huck\'s fortune. Huck finds Jim

on Jackson\'s Island because the slave has run away-he has overheard a

conversation that he will soon be sold to New Orleans. Soon after joining

Jim on Jackson\'s Island, Huck