In the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain tells a story of a boy similar to Tom Sawyer, in the preceding book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Both boys are friends in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, and encounter adventures together. The story is about Huckleberry, Huck as he is called throughout, who befriends another boy who runs from his troubles and together they face difficulties and eventually attain peace in the end. The story reflects friendship that stays unaltered by greed for money or want of freedom and the many obstacles a child is willing to go through to obtain the right to live freely.
Character Description and the Plot
The story starts when Huck finds gold stolen by a robber, an event which changes his life. He is adopted by a nice widow, Douglas, to look after him and he is made accustomed to a life of cleanliness and etiquettes, a life which his drunken father, Pap, was not able to provide for him. Soon his father, who was always a pain for Huck, arrives again to bring more troubles. He demands his boy back but the state decides to leave the boy in the lady’s hands seeing his unfit condition to take care of a child. But that does not stop him. He kidnaps the boy and keeps him locked in his cabin. Huck fakes a death and escapes from the misery only to embark on a journey filled with obstacles. On his way across the Mississippi River, he befriends a runaway slave boy named Jim. Jim was held captive by Miss Watson before. Both were free as yet and they had a good time together but Jim had prize money attached with him and Huck did not want to lose him so they head for St. Louis before getting caught. They get on a raft on the Ohio River, where soon they encounter a gang of robbers and a group of people looking for slaves. They manage to escape both in one way or another, in between which they get separated and then meet again. They manage to stay together nonetheless. The real trouble arises when they come across a pair of con artists who stick to them throughout their journey through the river and pull scams on many people on the way. When they get off the river, the con artists take the boys to the house of Peter Wilks, who had left his money to his two brothers. The men with the boys wanted to take the money by scamming to be those two brothers and they were on their way to achieving that when the real brothers showed up. The boys were relieved that now they could be free but the men had other plans for them. They had known all along that there was a prize money for Jim, so they sold him to a family nearby, separating the boys once again. But Huck did not give up on his friend. Huck finds out that the people who bought Jim are actually Tom Sawyer’s aunt and uncle, Silas and Sally Phelps. Tom soon joins hands in saving Jim and together they pull many tricks and scams to free Jim, which they eventually do. Tom gets injured on the way and Jim cares for him risking his freedom. Tom reveals that the lady who had held Jim as a slave was dead and in her will she had freed him. So, in the end Jim was a free man and Huck learns that his father has died. Tom’s uncle and aunt wish to adopt him but he preferred to continue on his journey and the adventures he might meet on the way (Twain 1986).
Conflicts in the Plot
In the story, Huck is forced to abide by the society’s norms of education which he comes to mistrust. He feels being out casted for having a dysfunctional family. When he befriends Jim, whom he finds to be good friend and an honest boy, he begins to question the education he attained from the society that leads to hatred for poor and slaves.
The Societal Hypocrisy
In the end when Huck has a chance to embark on a fresh start, he chooses to break free from the societal norms he thinks are filled with hypocrisy that regard a kind friend of his as a slave worth punishing. He does not wish to be civilized in the society.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is filled with scams and lies from the beginning through the end, most of which involve the two con artists the two boys encounter. What the story establishes is that lying and cheating has its bad turns in the end.
Evaluation and Theme of the Book
Mark Twain, through the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, present morals against the discrimination and hypocrisy in the society through the eyes of a young boy, the importance of family, the power of friendship and how a person is wiling to go through many obstacles to venture into a life of bliss unbound by the societal norms. To me, the book is an exciting piece of work. It is filled with clever schemes both at an adult level and at a child’s level. Almost all of the characters are engaged in scheming in one way or another, some for the good intentions and some for the utmost ill intentions, the reasons for which a book is a must read, as it keeps the reader stick with it till the end.