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All kids have an unique place, whether selected by a conscious choice or not this is a location where one can go to sort their thoughts. Nature can often provide convenience by offering a nurturing surrounding where a kid is forced to look within and choices can be made untainted by society. Mark Twain as soon as said “Do not let school get in the method of your education.” Twain states that this education which is provided by society, can really hinder human growth and maturity.
Although a formal education should not be totally avoided, perhaps real life experience, in society and nature, are a key part of advancement.
In the novel Experiences of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain tosses the curious yet innocent mind of Huck Finn out into a very hypocritical, judgmental, and hostile world, yet Huck has one escape– the Mississippi River constantly streaming nearby. Here nature is presented as an idea provoking environment when experienced alone. The river is peaceful and tranquil place where Huck can go back to examine any circumstance he might discover himself in: “They went off, and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low?
Then I believed a minute, and says to myself, hold on,- s’posture you ‘d a done right and offer Jim up; would you felt better than you do now? No, says I, I ‘d feel bad?” (p.
127). Just a couple of weeks with Jim and still feeling great uncertainty, Huck returns to the river to believe.
Twain attempts here to inform the reader how strong the “mob” truly is, and just when completely alone is Huck able to make the ethically right choice. The natural flowing and calm of the river cause this deep-thought, reveal! ing how unnatural the collective idea of a society can be.
The largest and most obvious test of Huck’s character is his relationship with Jim. The friendship and assistance which he offers to Jim go completely versus all that “sivilization” has actually taught him; at initially this idea troubles Huck and causes him a good deal of pain, however with time, through his life experiences and shared times with Jim, Huck crosses the line upheld by the racist South and familiarizes Jim as a person. Huck is at a point in his life where viewpoints are formed, and by growing on the river, Huck can stand back from society and form his own.
Eventually he goes as far as to risk his life for Jim:”And got to thinking of our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me, all the time, in the day, and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a floating along, talking, and singing, and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t see no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind? I studied a minute sort of holding my breath, and then I s! ays to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’? ” (pp. 270-271).
After a long and thought-provoking adventure, Huck returns to the raft one final time to decide the fate of his friend. Symbolically, Huck makes the morally correct decision away from all others, thinking on the river. Although it might not be evident to himself, Huck causes the reader to see that “sivilization”, in their treatment of blacks especially, is not civilized at all. Every person Huck and Jim come across seems to just be following someone else blindly, as the whole country were some sort of mob.
In the last few chapters, Tom Sawyer is re-introduced and the reader is left to examine how different environments: “sivilization” and nature (the river), have affected the children’s growth. It is distinctly evident that Huck has turned out to be the one with a clear and intelligent mind, and Tom, although he can regurgitate worthless facts about Louis XVI and Henry VIII, shows no real sign of maturity. “The first time I catched up to Tom, private, I asked him what was his idea, time of the evasion? – what it was he planned to do if the evasion worked out all right and he managed to set a nigger free that was already free before?
And he said, what he had planned in his head, from the start, if we got Jim out, all safe, was for us to run him down the river, on the raft, and have adventures plumb to the mouth? ” (p. 360). Huck has always thought of Tom as more intelligent than himself, but he cannot understand how Tom could toy with Jim’s life in such a way. For much time, Huck is! without the river and it is though his mind clouds; he follows along with Tom playing a sick game until the end when he is once again threatened with being “sivilized”.
“But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before” (p. 362). Huck’s adventure, if nothing else, has given him a wary eye towards “sivilized” society. When the prospect of settling down with Sally is presented he light’s out for the Territory to distance himself from a restrictive, formal education. Twain ends his novel by setting Huck up for a new experience and personal growth.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn taught an important lesson, one that showed the importance of the self in the maturing process. We saw Huck grow up by having the river as a place of solitude and thought, where he was able to participate in society at times, and also sit back and observe society. Through the child’s eye we see how ignorant and mob-like we can all be. Then nature, peace, and logic are presented in the form of the river where Huck goes to think. Though no concise answer is given, the literature forces the reader to examine their surroundings, and question their leaders.
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