Huckleberry Finn's Escape From Society (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain)
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel written by Mark Twain, we meet an adventurous thirteen year old boy named Huckleberry Finn, more commonly known as Huck. Huck is running away from home, and meets up with a runaway slave named Jim who was previously owned by his guardian's sister. Huck ends up trying to help Jim to escape. Their plan is to travel down the Mississippi river till they reach Cairo, and from there they would travel up the Ohio river towards freedom. Along Jim and Huck's dangerous journey, we see Huck in many different situations. We see that Huck embraces his time traveling down the Mississippi River on their raft, and enjoys every moment. Huck loves the raft knowing that while on the raft he can do as he pleases, does not need to follow other peoples' orders, and can experience the freedom that he so desires.
At the start of the novel, Huck is living at Widow Douglass's House. While living with her, he is forced to act civilized. He is forced to learn spelling, go to school and say prayers. Huck is then taken away from the widow by his abusive father, Pap. Although treated harshly by his father, Huck begins to like living there better than with the widow. As he says, “I didn't see how I'd ever got to like it so well at the widow's where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up.”(18) Pap is treating Huck terribly, and yet, Huck likes living with his father more than with the widow because with Pap, Huck is not confined to acting as everyone else.
While traveling down the Mississippi River, Huck stops on land for some time. He meets up with a nice family, the Grangerfords. He enjoys his stay with them, spending time with Buck, one of the children around his age. However, when the Grangerford Family meets up with the Shepardson family, there is war between them and many die. Huck runs away and finally manages to reach the raft. Once away from shore and sailing on the raft, Huck says, “I never felt easy 'till the raft was two mile below there and out in the middle of the Mississippi.”(88) Huck does not feel safe and secure until he is far away from society. Huck then goes on to say why he likes the raft. “We said there warn't no place like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft you don't. You might feel free and easy and comfortable on a raft.” (88) Huck is comfortable on the raft. The raft is not so “smothery” and there are no people around to constrict what he can do. Huck and Jim also do not wear clothes on the raft and are free to be themselves. Huck says, “There warn't no home like a raft at all.” (88)
While in another situation, Huck and Jim find themselves running away again. When they finally reach the raft, Huck says, “it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves, on the big river and nobody to bother us.” (155) Huck enjoys the river because it is big. There is room for him to act himself without having others breathing down his back telling him what he can and can't do.
If Huck would have enjoyed being civilized, and would not have minded having herd mentality, Huck would have never went against his upbringing to help Jim escape. Huck does not like being around others or being told what to do. Huck likes to make decisions for himself. Huck was brought up believing that slaves should be treated as subhuman. However, because Huck does not follow society and enjoys being away from people, Huck helps Jim to escape. Huck goes so much against society that he even lies to help Jim. When men passing the raft ask Huck if the man on the raft is black or white, Huck lies and says, “He's white.”(68)
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, when Huck is together with other people, he is a slave – a slave to society. When Huck is with society he feels trapped, and is forced to act as everyone else does. For this reason at the end of the book, Huck knows that Aunt Sally will want to adopt him and therefore says, “But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it. I been there before.” (220) Huck makes sure to leave before Aunt Sally can adopt him because he can't stand being a slave. However, when Huck is on the raft on the Mississippi River, he feels free and that is exactly what he wants – to have freedom, just like Jim.