The Outcast in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Life as an Outcast in Huckleberry Finn   One of the themes that has been addressed by writers since the beginning of civilization is the issue of the split between living in society and living by oneself. We see this in that peculiarly American genre of books known as "road books", in which the protagonist embarks upon a long journey or period of time away from society in order to "find themselves." One of the quintessential examples of this type of book is Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, technically a "river book" rather than a "road book". In it, as in many "road books" before and since, spending a long period of time away from society allows the protagonist to see the difference between the rules of…show more content…
Even more, it seems that Huck is only capable of thinking while on the river - he gets on the river just before this incident begins, and goes back to shore just after it ends. It almost seems as if he requires the physical surrounding of the river as a place to which to escape.   Huck's relationship with Jim also progressed on the river (which symbolizes that natural world and freedom from society) but stagnates on the shore (which represents mainstream society). Huck and Jim engage in all their bonding on the river, where they can forget the difference in their races - but when Huck goes out on shore, he is obligated to tie Jim up and leave him behind. Only on the river, free of the corrupting influence of society, are Huck and Jim free to express their true selves.   Also, we notice that most of Twain's scathing social satire occurs during episodes on the shore. An example of this is the time that Huck spends with the Grangerfords, who feud with their rivals the Shepherdsons for reasons unknown to them. The young Buck, who could very well be seen as an alter ego to Huck since he is about the same age and has a similar name, seems to straddle the fence between mainstream society and Huck's outcast world. While he participates in the feud, he does not understand its purpose. We see a related phenomenon towards the end of the novel when Tom Sawyer contrives his overly
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