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Slavery as one of the main themes of the book

After having escaped to Jackson’s Island, Huck meets a slave of Miss Watson – Jim, who ran away from her in order not to be sold to a new master in New Orleans. Escaping from the pursuit down the river Huck and Jim come across the gang of robbers, arguing about the destiny of the untruthful member of their group. Having run away safely, they find their raft a few miles down the river and Huck sends a rescue party to the steamboat. Looking through the things the gang stole off the wreck, they discover cigars and books about kings among them and spend their time discussing Solomon’s reign. As the journey goes on, they lose each other in tense fog, and when Huck catches up with the raft again, he tells Jim that both of them have recently woken up and nothing actually happened. But after that Huck understands that is a bad joke and has to ask Jim to forgive him.

Analyzing the relationships between Jim and Huck we can clearly see that one of the main themes of this book is slavery. Society is wrong.  As Huck travels down the river, he learns and does many things that would be contrary to the beliefs of society such as helping the slave escape.  He also learns the idea that black people are people, too, despite the teachings of society. Huck does not pay any attention to the fact that Jim is a "slave”, that he must be "lower” in status, that in fact he has no status at all. He only sees a great friend, a person who seems to be interesting to him, a man who can always help, he regards Jim as a human but not someone who should serve him and fulfill all his orders and wishes.

There is a theme of growth and rebirth in Huck throughout the story.  After each adventure, Huck learns something new and becomes a new person, a better person.

(by Luck)

Ironic devices

Mark Twain is a humorist or nothing.  Twain uses a lot of irony in this book to give it a little humor. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is full of different kinds of irony.

We can see dramatic irony in the 9th chapter. "When we was ready to shove off we was a quarter of a mile below the island, and it was pretty broad day; so I made Jim lay down in the canoe and cover up with a quilt, because if he set up people could tell he was a nigger a good ways off." Here, Huck incorrectly assumes that people can distinguish a black person from a white person from a significant distance. In this situation he still adheres to an opinion that blacks are essentially different from whites.In the chapter number 10 we can also be faced with this kind of irony. "His foot swelled up pretty big, and so did his leg; but by and by the drunk begun to come, and so I judged he was all right; but I'd druther been bit with a snake than pap's whisky." Here Huck demonstrate us how little he cares for his Pap, by saying he'd rather be bitten by a snake than be drunk off Pap's whisky.

If we speak about situational irony we can see the example in the 11th 15th chapters. "Some think old Finn done it himself... But before night they changed around and judged it was done by a runaway nigger named Jim.”  This quote tells us how Twain demonstrates that when crimes occurred blacks were immediately blamed before whites. "We could sell the raft and get on a steamboat and go way up the Ohio amongst the free states, and then be out of trouble." Here Huck believes that his and Jim's lives will be perfect if they are able to get down the river, but in reality, there's no way of knowing whether they might end up worse off than when they started.

(by Tanya)

Character formation

In chapters VII-XII Huck’s life on the Island is described. I think that his escape was the only way out and the only chance to continue living. So he was alone, but he was not lonely. He was quite satisfied with this situation and moreover he felt free at last.

He enjoyed every day on the island but suddenly his quietness was disturbed, it turned out that he wasn’t an only inhabitant here. What a surprise it was when he met Jim – Miss Watson’s slave who also escaped from the city, in order not to be sold to a new master.
They began live together and despite Jim was a slave they became real friends. Huck’s attitude towards Jim was not typical in that time. "Niger” was "Niger”, nothing more. The racial discrimination was normal; in fact no one cared about the matter.
There on the island we saw Huck as he was: honest, hard-working, responsible and devoted. When Huck was on Illinois shore and the woman in the town said that there was a reward for Jim’s head, he told her nothing. Jim trusted him and he couldn’t betray him.
In previous chapters we saw that Huck didn’t believe in every word of Tom, he preferred to check himself and that’s why I couldn’t name him a gullible person, but in these chapters his tested led him to the conclusion that omens have their grounds. Mark Twain described these superstitions in a very funny way, showing the confusion and stupidity of them.
To sum it up, I want to say that in these chapters Huck experienced much: inequality, misunderstanding, such notions as honour and trust. All the difficulties made him more mature and stronger.
(by Ayayulia)

Huckleberry Finn: Personal Development

The main person of the story is Huckleberry Finn. He actually can be called a child without childhood. From the very first chapters of the book we see that Huck’s behavior and view on life differs from Tom Sawyer and other boys’ ones. But can we be sure that Huckleberry is a real grown-up in a body of a little boy? I think not in the beginning of the book.

Reading first chapters of the story we see that sometimes Huck’s actions are typical of a little boy of his age. Jokes on Jim, for example, show that. But still Huckleberry develops his personality. And Jim helps him much actually. Let’s recollect the last episode of the XVth chapter. A bad joke of Huck offended the black slave. But then our boy realizes that he has done a terrible thing, that he was wrong.

What comes next? It is said that Huck humbled himself to a nigger. That means that the little boy made him equal to Jim. Huck tried to view the world around as Jim did this. So Huckleberry realized that he would never joke on Jim. We see Huck becoming an adult. Besides this we realize that now Huck feels responsibility for his friend Jim, but not only for himself.

Probably, this very responsibility for somebody else is the main thing Huck lacked. Yes, he has a grown-up’s vision of life. But he was responsible only for himself, that’s one of the main characteristic features that opposed children to adults.

But no matter what, Huck is still in a body of a little boy. And this fact leaves it stamp on Finn’s behavior. That’s why he needs Jim to stay with him. Where will Huck’s personal development lead? We will see…

(by Seagull)

Not all jokes are really funny.

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a deceptive book – it seems to be written for children, but the problems it deals with are far from children's understanding. It's a book where serious themes are hidden in a child's narrating. Huck's story is a reflection of the whole society viewed from small boy's eyes. The problem of slavery, the problem of educational gap, the problem of child abuse and a great deal of other problems are in focus of Mark Twain's novel.

Besides for social conflicts, the book concerns the theme of character's development. Huck's view and attitude towards the world and people are changing due to different circumstances. The reader witnesses the development of boy's life-perception and he understands that Huck is becoming more mature from chapter to chapter.

Just remember the episode in which Huck wanted to play a joke on Jim, putting a dead snake on his pillow. A boyish joke is opposed to the serious consequences it caused and the very difference between what was expected and what really happened made Huck understand that every deed can lead to tragedy. Huck didn't want Jim to find out that it was his fault, that the reason for it was just a boy's pastime. He understands that he was guilty but he doesn't want to accept this quilt just because he's ashamed of what he has done. Now he knows that not all jokes are really funny.

Another episode illustrates quite the same idea. As the journey goes on, Huck and Jim lose each other in a fog, and when Huck catches up with the raft again, He pretends that it was nothing else, but Jim's dream. Huck expected his joke to be funny but it turned out to be offensive for Jim. "I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way”. Huck understands that his jokes can lead to serious consequences, they can hurt other people's feelings and this is so-to-say a crucial point that changed Huck's attitude to his own behaviour.

There are a lot of other situations in the book that make Huck review his behaviour. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a book not only about social problems and conflicts. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a book about small boy's understanding that life isn't a funny joke.

(by Rina)


Nobody doubts that the book "The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a masterpiece. But what makes it so outstanding? What does the author manage to do so that he is called a great writer?

I suppose that a lot of factors contribute to it: themes raised, the style of narration, imagery, symbolism and just clever thoughts and ideas. Let me cover some of them in detail. I would like to focus on themes and imagery.

Of course, there are many themes raised in the story but some of them still remain major, the others being minor ones. There is a theme of adventure. A river is a haven of the society. When travelling down the river Huck meets different types of people, overcomes various calamities of life and learns about people’s prejudices.

But the river is not only a way of travelling. This river is a symbol that Mark Twain uses throughout the book. It symbolizes freedom, independence, and life in the wild. Huck flees to live in the river to live freely and have an adventure. Huck escapes from everything in the river.

As for Jim, the river will take him to "freedom” in the legal sense because he and Huck are aiming toward the free states. For Huck, the river carries him away from his frustrated. Prior to hitting the rapids, Huck feels confined – both by both society (which, figuratively, kept Huck imprisoned by its restrictive rules) and by Pap (who, literally, kept Huck locked up). So when Huck and Jim decide it’s about time for them to move on out, they take their raft to the river. It’s the only route they can take if they want to be free both in that present moment and in their respective futures.

So, it is quite clear that the Mississippi river is a symbol. And, as we have just proved, it is a symbol of changes and freedom for both Huck and Jim.

(By Asya)

"Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities”.   (Mark Twain)


You definitely didn’t have such childhood as Huck Finn does. You have never imagined the adventures that were real for him. But you have always dreamt of going through them, haven’t you? Mark Twain seems to be a shrewd psychologist when presenting his story about a boy who’s experiencing all the adventures imaginable. The author is unwrapping the narration to tease you, to make you feel a little bit envious, to tickle your "dreams deferred”. You can’t but cry content with the events described in the novel. Even if you are an adult.

But why are we so stunned about the book?

Huck Finn and Jim, a runaway Black slave, took a river voyage along Mississippi – the river of freedom, hope, hair-raising adventures, bearing the sense of breakoff from civilization. And this is the very thing that might be creeping under your skin – no civilization, no rules, no laws, no instructions, no people pressing your initiatives down. Isn’t this what you have always thought about?

After having learnt that he was still hunted, Huck met Jim and was mighty hilarious about that. He needed a companion and Jim was a perfect one for such a young devil as Huckleberry. They are not deprived of their due share of adventures: they got into a floating house with a dead man inside (whose identity is revealed only at the end of the book); Jim was bitten by a snake and had to go through a painful recovery. Huck disguised himself as a girl and went ashore but was soon found out. They fled from the island as people were chasing for Jim to get a reward for a runaway slave. The two friends got to know real swindlers but Huck was generous enough to do everything possible to save them from the sinking ship. Huck and Jim happened to be lost in a fog and when they found each other again, the boy managed to turn everything into a joke.

And they felt happy. Happy because they were not tied with fast ropes of civilized life; they were not suppressed by a heavy stone of obligations. All they did was to get fun and not to die. They lived natural lives – never staying still at one place, moving forward, clinging to everything new. This is the book for those who want (at least virtually) to experience real freedom, to think like the characters do, to grasp a worldview of a child. Are you of this kind?...

(by MissJane)

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