Transcendentalism In Huckleberry Finn

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In the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain juxtaposes two environments that tackle many different aspects of life. From Christian reforms, domestic abuse, and slavery to reflective solitude and liberation, Twain brings together a plethora of obstacles for the main character Huckleberry Finn and his companion Jim to encounter and assimilate. The two contrasting settings depict intermingling themes of the repressive civilization on land, the unrestricted freedom on the raft, and the transcendentalism that Huck and Jim experience during their escape from captivity towards liberation. Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas, two wealthy Christian sisters, relentlessly shape Huck’s life as devout Christians, restricting his freedom and…show more content…
Like the oppressive civilization Huck’s bound to, slavery confines Jim to his slave status. When given the dilemma of either running away or being sold off by his owner, Miss Watson, Jim chooses to run away: “I—I runoff…Ole missus…pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’ sell me down to Orleans” (Twain 43). The repressive civilization restricts both Jim and Huck’s freedom through Miss Watson’s reforms, Pap’s abusive relationship, and slavery prompting them to escape the confines of a ‘civilized’ society and to seek protection in the waters on the raft. Furthermore, the novel illustrates the unrestricted freedom the river provides through the connection with nature, independence from slavery, and the pair’s relationship. After escaping the clutches of the restrictive lifestyle of Miss Watson and the violent relationship with his father, Huck seeks refuge in the waters surrounding himself with nature, considering it as his home as he proclaims, “...there warn’t no home like the raft…Other places feel so cramped and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft” (Twain 117). As Jim escapes from civilization towards life on the raft where open friendship and freedom that the river provides overcome prejudice against racism and slavery, he grows as an individual as he declares risking his life and freedom for Huck, “my heart wuz mos’' broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn' k'yer no mo'
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