Coming of Age Book Analysis
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain
The Innocence of Huck
begin the story, Huck explains how he and his friend Tom Sawyer have recently
come into a large amount of money ($6,000 in Gold).
lives without parents as his mother has died and his father is the town drunk.
in the town idolize Huck for his disregard towards laws as well as his
is taken in by a woman named Widow Douglas, who along with her sister, Miss
Watson, intend on civilizing Huck.
being taken in by Widow Douglas, Huck had no formal education.
struggles at first with having to act civilized and leaves the Widow to roam
free. After meeting with Tom, who explains to Huck that if he wants to join his
new robber gang he has to return to the Widow and remain civilized, Huck
returns to the Widow reluctantly.
night Huck sneaks out of the house to join Tom’s gang. In order to join the
gang, they had to sign an oath. One requirement of the oath was if any of the
boys told secrets about the gang, they had to kill their family.
to the fact that Huck’s father could rarely be located, Huck offered Miss
Watson because he wasn’t fond of her enforcing rules upon him.
a month of playing in the gang, all the boys resigned because they hadn’t
killed or robbed anyone.
noticing footprints in the snow outside, Huck is worried that his father has
returned to find him.
night Huck finds his father, Pap, waiting for him in his bedroom.
Huck’s money but Huck claims he doesn’t have it because he has sold it to Judge
Thatcher. Pap then sues Judge Thatcher for the money and in a drunken rage,
kidnaps Huck and takes him to a cabin across the river. This is where Huck’s
– Conflict within yourself
– Conflict between two people or a
the story, Huck repeatedly experiences internal conflict as the topics vary
from religion, to race, and the views of society.
v Huck first experiences some internal conflict
when Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson try and instill Christian values
in Huck. The Widow is a more relaxed Christian while Miss Watson explains to
Huck that if he does not follow every Christian rule precisely, he will end up
going to hell.
v While helping Miss Watsons slave, Jim, escape;
Huck is very conflicted as to whether he should help Jim or not. He understands
that if he helps Jim runaway, society would ridicule him and because of the
hard Christian values taught by Miss Watson, he believed he would go to hell
for it. In chapter 31, Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson that explains that
Jim, who has been captured, is just below Pikesville and she can get him back
if she pays the reward. After thinking with himself, Huck realizes that he
cannot give Jim up because Jim has only been kind to Huck and has helped him
throughout the trip. After this self-thought Huck tears up the paper and
proclaims, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”. Chapter 31, pg. 217 which
is one of the main quotes regarding the conflict within Huck. Later on Huck is
also very surprised when Tom Sawyer helps Jim escape as he believes Tom is
risking his good name and reputation to help out someone considered to have no
one thing was dead sure, and that was that Tom Sawyer was in earnest, and was
actuly going to help steal that n***** out of slavery. That was the thing that
was too many for me. Here was a boy that was respectable and well brung up; and
had a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; and he was
bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but
kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling,
than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and his family a
shame, before everybody. I couldn’t understand it no way at all. It was
outrageous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell him so; and so be his true
friend, and let him quit the thing right where he was and save himself.”
Chapter 34, pg. 235/236
quote really expresses the conflict going on inside of Huck as he is in the
process of helping Jim escape but at the same time questions why his friend is
helping, and risking himself to the scrutiny that could come along with it.
Huck’s society it is seen as crime to help slaves escape, and that is why he
continues to struggle with helping Jim runaway; but in the end Huck’s internal
values ultimately take over as he knows that helping Jim escape is the right
thing to do.
lot of Huck’s early independence has to do with his father never being around
his mother has passed away to take care of him as he was wandering around town
doesn’t have a sense of being civilized before the Widow and Miss Watson take
him in because he had no authority figure in his life.
v After learning of Huck’s fortune, Pap returns
to town demanding that Huck give the money all to him. During the dispute Pap
also reprimands Huck for attending school saying “You’re educated, too, they
say—can read and write. You think you’re better’n your father, now, don’t you,
because he can’t? i’ll take it out of you.” Chapter 5, pg. 25 Because of this,
Huck continues to attend school just to anger his father.
After an argument with the Widow, Pap kidnaps Huck and takes
him to a cabin up river. In chapter 6, Huck explains that the Widow sent a man
to find him but the man was unsuccessful in his attempt to get Huck. “The
widow she found out where I was by and by, and she sent a man over to try to
get hold of me; but pap drove him off with the gun…” Chapter 6, pg. 26
leaving the cabin to go to town each day, Pap locks Huck in the cabin and sometimes
ties him up. After returning home, drunk, Pap beats Huck before passing out.
After Pap’s beatings become too severe Huck decides to escape. After making a
hole in the cabin wall, Huck fills a raft he found with supplies from the cabin
and shoots a hog to spread his blood across the cabin making it look like he
was murdered. Huck then ventures down river to nearby Jackson Island. On
Jackson Island Huck finds a runaway slave owned by Miss Watson named Jim.
chapter 9, Jim and Huck discover the dead body of a man that has been shot in a
house floating by Jackson Island after severe flooding. The reader later learns
that the body is Pap’s. Jim did not let Huck see the face of the dead man
because he knew it was Huck’s father.
Huck and Jim
first encounter with Jim is when Huck sneaks out to meet Tom Sawyer at night.
Tom wants to tie a sleeping Jim to a tree but Huck suggests that they move
Jim’s hat instead.
relationship between Huck and Jim truly begins when they meet on Jackson
Island. When Jim discovers the body of Huck’s father Pap, he elects not to let
Huck see it and does not tell him that it is his father, as he knows it would
deeply upset Huck.
escaping from a ship wreckage, Huck and Jim encounter a dense fog which
separates them from each other. After reuniting Huck tries to prank Jim by
saying that it was all a dream and that they weren’t separated. Jim, who
doesn’t fall for the trick, is very upset that Huck would try something like
that as he was extremely worried that he had lost Huck forever. This confession
causes Huck to feel deeply ashamed for pulling the prank as Jim would do
anything for Huck. Huck then apologizes to Jim. As they near shore, Huck
becomes distraught with the fact that he is helping a slave escape and
considers telling authorities. Once onshore, Huck instead covers for Jim when
he encounters people looking for a runaway slave.
two con men that Jim and Huck have met look to sell Jim for a $40 reward, Huck
writes the letter to Miss Watson due to his conscience still being unable to
come to grips that he is helping a slave. Huck then decides between two things:
whether he will go to heaven for his actions, or to hell. Huck ultimately
decides to go to hell as he tears up the letter and decides to help Jim. After
being mistaken for Tom Sawyer by Tom’s Aunt, Huck meets up with Tom and
explains that Jim has been captured. Tom agrees to help Huck break him out.
After an elaborate and useless plan to free Jim, Tom is shot
as they make their way to the raft. Jim proves his kindness and loyalty as he
refuses to leave without Tom seeing a doctor first. After Tom explains that him
and Huck came up with the plan to free Jim, he reveals that Jim has been a free
man this whole time because Miss Watson has died and in her will she gives Jim
main development comes in chapter 31 as he makes the decision to disregard
society and suffer the consequence of going to hell for saving Jim. The issue
of race and slavery cause Huck to feel guilty throughout the story as helping
people of color was considered an embarrassment to you and your family. Huck
accepts his fate as he decides to help Jim even though he is a slave and a man
of color. This action is considered heroic in today’s time but back in the
1800’s when this book was written, slavery and racial injustices were
acceptable and people who helped out people of different ethnicities were often