Adventures Of Huck Finn By Twain

America... land of the free and home of the brave; the utopian society which
every European citizen desired to be a part of in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The revolutionary ideas of The Age of Enlightenment such as democracy and
universal male suffrage were finally becoming a reality to the philosophers and
scholars that so elegantly dreamt of them. America was a playground for the
ideas of these enlightened men. To Europeans, and the world for that matter,

America had become a kind of mirage, an idealistic version of society, a place
of open opportunities. Where else on earth could a man like J. D. Rockefeller
rise from the streets to one of the richest men of his time? America stood for
ideals like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. People in America had
an almost unconditional freedom: freedom to worship, write, speak, and live in
any manner that so pleased them. But was this freedom for everyone? Was America,
the utopia for the millions of common men from around world, as great as the
philosophers and scholars fantasized? America, as a society, as a country, and
as a leader was not as picture perfect as Europeans believed. The United States,
under all the gold plating, carried a burden of unsolved national problems,
especially racial. The deep scar of slavery had left a dent in the seemingly
impenetrable armor of the country. From the times of early colonization to the
late 19th century, Africans had been brought over by the thousands in
overcrowded and unsanitary slave ships and sold like cattle to the highest
bidder, an inhumane and despicable act that America, land of the free and home
of the brave, allowed to happen. Why? Slavery is what the plantation society of
the South thrived on. The South’s entire economic system was built upon the
shoulders of the African slave. Too precious and dear to let go, the South held
on to this institution until the Thirteenth Amendment was signed in by Lincoln
in 1865. In this hypocritical society is where The Adventures of Huckleberry

Finn finds itself. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an epic
story of the journey of a redneck boy and a runaway slave, escaping the grips of
society in the hope of a chance at the freedom they long for so dearly. The
novel’s author, Mark Twain, also grew up in this society. Samuel Clemens,

Twain’s birth name, led a life that had a great influence on the works that he
produced later in his life. Born in Florida, Missouri, Clemens’ childhood was
filled with adventures much like those found in both The Adventures of Tom

Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Following his childhood
experiences, Clemens worked on steamboats on the Mississippi River up until the
river was closed during the Civil War. The war opened his eyes to the issue of
slavery, which shows up in many of his works, including Huckleberry Finn.

Huckleberry Finn takes place when slavery was very much a part of Southern
culture and society, nearly thirty years prior to the Civil War. Since the
institution of slavery was such a stronghold of Southern society during

Huckleberry Finn, Huck’s helping bring Jim to freedom makes him an outlaw. In

James Wright’s "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" published in Great

Writers of the English Language: American Classics in 1991, Wright clarifies for
the reader that "Huck in helping Jim, was not only going against the moral
codes of the South, but was going against strict written law" (14). Since
helping a runaway slave was written law, Huck’s helping Jim signifies Huck
making a conscience decision to rebel openly against society. In Walter

Blair’s "So Noble... and So Beautiful a Book" published in Twentieth

Century Interpretations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1968, Blair
suggests, "In those slave-holding days, the whole community was agreed as to
one thing – the awful sacredness of slave property" (70). The unity of the

Southern society in regard to slavery is what made it so difficult for the

United States to rid itself of it. Slavery was in fact, sacred, and to go
against this evil religion was taboo. "To help steal a horse or a cow was a
low crime, but to help a hunted slave... or to hesitate to promptly betray him
to a slave catcher when opportunity offered was a much baser crime, and carried
with it a stain, a moral smirch which nothing could wipe away" (Blair 70).

Blair makes an interesting point here. He states that to go against