Huck Finn Paper
March 9, 2009
Sumter High School
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain tells the story of a boy called Huck is going through an important time in his life. He is undergoing a realization of life’s boundaries and life’s freedoms. Twain utilizes symbolism of the shore and the river to represent Huck’s growth and self-realization.
The story begins with Huck and his life with the Widow Douglas in her home. He is overwhelmed by the confines and restrictions he encounters. Huck says, “Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me” (Twain 1). Huck realizes life on the shore means he will lose the freedoms of choices. He will be confined by the rules that govern a family. Society’s rules will be forced upon him in effort to make him “sivilized” (Twain 1). Huck feels trapped because he has to wear clean clothes, use good manners and go to school.
When Huck is on the river, he has little restrictions and is able to do as he pleases. There is little responsibility. River life allows Huck to wear his comfortable clothes, to come and go as he pleases and to mostly avoid society’s rules and limitations. Huck says, “there warn’t no home like a raft . . . You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft” (Twain 116).
Huck’s life on the shore and on the river are tools of symbolism. The land is a concrete. It is solid and can be altered by humans. Land is limited and can only go so far until it hits water. Land has many natural boundaries like mountain ravines and bodies of water as well as human boundaries like walls and fences. On the other hand, the river is a liquid form that can take the shape of its container yet assumes another form with a different container. It flows and it moves. Its freedom is endless and untamed. In the end, Huck chooses a life of freedom. Huck says, “I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest,...