Themes Taught through Individual Characters and Society in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, many dominant American themes and culture are present. Twain explores these themes through the actions, relationships, and development of different characters in the novel. Freedom, survival of the fittest, and individual conscience are three themes that are explored in individual characters and in society. Freedom, the most blatant theme in the novel, takes on a different perspective for Huck, escaping a civilized lifestyle, and Jim, escaping being sold by Mrs. Watson. Huck is forced to adapt to Widow Douglass’ civilized lifestyle, but he perceives it as “rough living… when [he] couldn’t stand it no longer, [he] lit out… and was free and satisfied” (1). The struggle within the…show more content…
The actions of Pap Finn, the robbers, and the Duke and Dauphine, reveal a dark side of freedom that causes them to break the rules to accomplish their goals. Pap Finn is very abusive towards his son, and his heavy drinking habits leave him dependent on others in order to purchase more alcohol. To avoid loosing custody of his son, he takes him out to a shed and Huck was chased “ round and round the place, with a clasping knife...” in Pap’s hand (35). Pap is relentless in threatening to kill his son; his addiction manages to take advantage of the freedom he has to steal money and drink until he is given temporary happiness. When Huck and Jim are traveling down river past St. Louis, they pass a wrecked steamboat that is inhabited by three robbers. These robbers were on board with incentive to steal what they could before it floated down river. One robber said, “ ‘ my idea is this: we’ll rustle around and gether up whatever pickins we’ve overlooked … and shove for shore ’ ”(82). In order for them to survive they steal and cheat others of their wealth by literally taking it from them. Eventually, Huck and Jim pick up two con-artists that do more bad than good for them, and are somewhat threatening. Calling themselves a Duke and a King, they got money by putting on shows for towns that were short and a complete rip off. They were able to outsmart people into coming, and once they caught on, the con
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