The Adventures of the Huckleberry Finn, narrated the fascinating story of Huck, an uncivilized and naïve boy who learns to grow and mature throughout his long and eventful journey on a raft to free Jim, a runaway slave. His journey proves to be more than a thrilling adventure to free Jim from slavery, it also serves as an unforgettable learning experience allowing Huck to grow and mature as an individual. Before the journey, Huck was an immature boy in an indecisive match with morality, unable to decide if he should follow his own path or society’s path. Throughout his journey, Huck combats face to face obstacles allowing him to discover his own path and his moral beliefs, away from society’s influences. These obstacles influenced his sense of morality and guided his moral development, shaping him into the mature and developed young man he became at the end of the novel.
Huck learned plenty of life lessons from his adventures on the river that added to the development of his character. First of all, Huck learned to make life-defining decisions that determined his fate. The hard decisions he made include turning in Jim or not or if he should help the girls by stealing the money from the duke and king. All of these encounters helped him discover his principles and develop his own moral code. As Huck explains,”I says to myself, this is another one that I’m letting him rob her of her money. And when she got through they all jest laid theirselves out to make me feel at home and know I was amongst friends. I felt so ornery and low down and mean that I says to myself, my mind’s made up; I’ll hive that money for them or bust.”(Twain178). Huck had to decide if he should let the duke and king rob the girls or if he should stop them. However, the girls’ kindness and love towards him made him decide to steal the money from the duke and king and rightfully return their money. Therefore, the decision he made in this situation contributed to the growth of his character due to the fact that he returned the stolen money. Huck had to right the wrong that had been done to them and by doing this Huck realized that stealing from people was a sin allowing him to make stealing part of his immoral code.
Another life lesson was that Huck learned that he should not go too far with his jokes because of the harm he might cause. This life lesson made him grow as an individual because it made him realize that the jokes he makes can be harmful rather than funny. When Huck realized that not everything is fun and games, he moved from this stage of acting foolish and childish to acting maturely. “Well, by night I forgot all about the snake, and when Jim flung himself down on the blanket while I struck a light the snake’s mate was there, and bit him.” (Twain 55) Huck puts a dead snake into Jim’s blanket. Tragically, he forgot the snake and whenever there is a dead snake its mate comes and curls around it so the snake bit Jim.
Huck also learned the value of friendship which is the most important life lesson he got from the journey. Huck doesn’t view Jim as a slave like everyone else, but instead, in his eyes, Jim is his friend. Huck grows to love and care about Jim because he constantly stands by his side through the whole journey. “Jim was gone! I set up a shout—and then another—and then another one; and run this way and that in the woods, whooping and screeching; but it warn’t no use—old Jim was gone. Then I set down and cried; couldn’t help it. But I couldn’t set still long. Pretty soon I went out on the road, trying to think what I better do” (Twain 214). When Huck ran away from the duke and king, he ran to the raft but didn’t find his friend jim. He stood crying and he refused to leave, instead he went to look for him. Huck learned to love which is something he didn’t get from his abusive father. Although Jim was a slave, Huck learned to love him despite society’s views on African-Americans as slaves and foolish people. Huck was able to create his own path away from society’s principles as his friendship with Jim developed.
As the journey continues, Huck learns more and more lessons that built his character more. He learned how to value the magnificence and intensity of nature. “now you’d hear the thunder let go with an awful crash, and then go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels down stairs— where it’s long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know. “Jim, this is nice,” I says. “I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else but here.” (Twain51) In Jackson's island, Huck spends time in nature for the first time and he realized how much he enjoys looking at nature and how beautiful it is. This specific scene shows his growth as an individual as he becomes more appreciative and grateful for the things around him. Last but not least, Huck learned to follow his heart instead of his conscience. “Is your man white or black?” I didn’t answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn’t come. I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but I warn’t man enough—hadn’t the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and says: “He’s white”(Twain93).Huck's conscience told him that turning in Jim was the correct thing to do, but Huck‘s heart said otherwise. Huck did not turn Jim in and this choice he made, added to his character's development. Instead of following what he was taught, he followed what he and his heart believed was correct.
Through his numerous encounters on the river, Huck was able to grow out of the immature habits of a thirteen year old boy to a mature young adult. Although he faced struggles throughout his journey, they proved to be educational learning experiences. Huck morally developed during this journey because he was able to create his own set of beliefs and guidelines. Huck matured and learned various life lessons and principles. In conclusion, the ride along the Mississippi was a successful journey and a learning experience shaping Huck into a mature individual.
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