Huck Finn: Freedom

May 15, 2015
by: Sami2016

A prominent theme in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is freedom. The book takes place in a time when slavery was still legal and thriving. Huckleberry Finn is the main character; although he is white, he struggles with his own freedom. Huck has a drunk and abusive father named Pap who attempts to control Huck; often telling him not to go to school. Pap fears that Huck’s intelligence will surpass his own. At one point, Pap locks Huck in their house and leaves him alone for days. Huck can’t take the abuse anymore and fakes his own death; leaving his home behind.

Eventually, Huck runs into a runaway slave named Jim. Huck knows Jim, he is the slave of the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, these people also attempted to control Huck. They wanted to “civilize” him by taking him to church and making Huck live up to their social expectations. Obviously, Jim was controlled by the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson as well because he was their slave. Neither Huck or Jim were free to live their lives in their abusive situations. So they decided to run away from their hometown of St. Petersburg Missouri.

Jim was running to the north in order to be free and then eventually free his family so that they could live a normal, happy life—free of slavery. However, Huck does not know how to feel about Jim’s dreams of freedom; he contemplates the morality of Jim being free. His entire life, Huck was taught that slavery is okay and that freeing a slave is immoral. But now that Jim is his friend: he does not know what to do. At one point Huck thinks to himself : “”What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word?”” (80). This is ironic, because Huck himself previously had struggle with gaining freedom and now is not sure if he should tear that basic right away from somebody else.

Are there any other opinions on this topic?


Freedom of Huck and Jim

Submitted by nikki39987 on Mon, 2015-05-18 23:06.

You mentioned some great points about freedom and how it plays into the roles of Huck and Jim. I like that you talked about Pap not appreciating the fact that Huck's intelligence may "surpass" his own. Huck's father was actually afraid of his own son being smarter than him. Can you imagine how weird that would be if children were smarter than their parents? That may actually be true in some cases but now it's usually the parents who teach their kids and have them go to school at the same time to get an education to better their future. Huck and Jim both live very different lives from different perspectives; Huck is a white thirteen year old boy and Jim is a black slave. Huck technically has more freedom than Jim but he also feels the annoying push when he's told what to do just like Jim does.